Snap Talk by Erin Jablonski
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
"Oil and water may not mix ... but they are not so easy to separate either"
Abstract: Emulsions are everywhere, from pharmaceuticals to mayonnaise. However, some emulsions are undesirable and inherently difficult to separate. Current methods to separate emulsions include centrifugation, which is energy intensive, or gravity settling, which is time intensive, and both are cost intensive. Here at Bucknell we have designed a low energy, continuous technique that exploits the unique properties of fluid flow at the microscale to passively separate water and oil emulsions. We have also used this technique to separate water-loving particles from oil. Our devices may be small, but they can be scaled up by "stacking" to commercialize this new technique that is fast, cheap, and easy.