Laboratoire de Physique des Solides - UMR 8502

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Colloidal gelation, a means to study elastocapillarity effects in foam

We explore the evolution of the mechanical properties of a coarsening foam containing colloidal particles
that undergo a sol–gel transition in the continuous phase. This enables us to investigate the impact of
elasto-capillarity on foam mechanics over a wide range of elasto-capillary numbers. Right after initiating
aggregation the foam mechanics is predominantly determined by the elasticity of the bubbles, while the
contributions of the continuous phase become dominant as the colloidal particles form a gel. Taking into
account the confined configuration of the foam skeleton for the formation of a space spanning gel, we
find that for elasto-capillary numbers exceeding unity the foam mechanics can be described as a simple
linear combination of the contributions due to respectively the bubble elasticity and the elastic skeleton.
Surprisingly, the contributions of the elastic skeleton to the overall foam mechanics are larger for smaller
elasto-capillary numbers, scaling as the inverse of the capillary number.

This paper has been plublished in Soft Matter:!divAbstract