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HBA Global Tech Panel Talks Emulsions


NEW YORK—Emulsions play an essential role in many personal care and over-the-counter (OTC) drug products. But development of emulsion-based products is often a long process because formulators must deal with issues such as product efficacy, phase stability and non-uniform process conditions on scale up. As part of a technical panel on “High Speed Personal Care Formulating," Mark Grace, president, Smooth, will explain how microchannel emulsification technology can be used to produce emulsions made up of smaller droplets, resulting in higher -quality emulsion-based products on Tuesday, June 28 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the HBA Global Expo & Conference at the Javits Center in New York. 

Emulsions are a mixture of immiscible fluids, in which droplets of a dispersed phase are distributed within a continuous phase. In general, the smaller the droplets, the more stable the mixture, eliminating or reducing the need to add surfactants. Traditionally, emulsions are produced in batches using different types of mixer. In contrast, microchannel emulsification technology, known as Smooth and developed by Velocys Inc., the U.S.-based member of the U.K.-based Oxford Catalysts Group, takes advantage of laminar shearing—also known as laminar flow emulsification—to produce emulsified mixtures in a continuous stream.

Research carried out by Velocys shows by controlling the flow rate of the continuous phase, and cooling the resulting emulsion very quickly, microchannel emulsification makes it possible to produce stable emulsions containing very small droplets. As a rule of thumb, the faster the flow of the continuous phase, and the colder and faster the quenching, the smaller the droplets produced. Optimum droplet sizes can be achieved by controlling flow rates and the speed and temperature of quenching to produce consistent products to tight specifications while reducing or eliminating the need to use surfactants.

“Developing new formulations using traditional emulsification technology can be very time consuming because you need to test each formulation individually and wait for the results. One advantage of the Smooth technology is it allows you to run multiple formulations quickly. You can change conditions such as viscosity, flow speeds, heating and cooling rates as well as quenching conditions on the fly and realize new properties nearly instantaneously—thus cutting development times," Grace said. “We look forward to educating product development teams at HBA on this new technology and how it can enhance their brands and new product lines."

Smooth will also be exhibiting and demonstrating its complete new line of emulsification equipment, which can accommodate everything from lab-scale experiments to commercial production at HBA Global Expo in Booth 1257.

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