M4E, a new and ground-breaking technology for dispersion and emulsion making
The traditional equipments for the industrial production of emulsions and dispersions rely on mechanical energy input to comminute the dispersed phase and to produce definite patterns of particles sizes and particles size distribution.
The mechanical approach has limits and although improvements are constantly introduced these are incremental and inevitably limited by the presence of rotating parts. 0nly an innovative approach can result in a real step change.
This article describes the principles, the practical realizations and the advantages achievable by using magnetic forces.
MAGNETIC EMULSION TECHNOLOGY
The magnetic emulsion technology was originally developed by the team of Prof. Martens at the University of Leuven in Belgium and patented in 2002 (WO2004043580A1) (1). The company M4E (Magnets for Emulsion) was founded in 2004 to introduce the technology in the industrial domain.
The concept is to combine the conditions created by a turbulent flow with the Lorentz forces created by a magnetic field.
In the first step of the process the conditions for a turbulent flow are created, with a Reynolds Number of the fluid exceeding 4000. This causes chaotic property changes, with particles colliding and splitting initially into smaller particles. In industrial installations the turbulent flow is generated by positive displacement pumps, e.g. LOBE or SCREW pumps.
In a second step, the turbulence and shear-forces are boosted by the Lorentz force, induced by a magnetic field. The Lorentz force works on the polarity of the molecules of the formulation ingredients
A particle of charge “q” moving at an instant velocity “v” in a magnetic field “B” is subject to a force
F = ... ...