Microfluidics approach to investigate foam hysteretic behaviour

Leslie Labarre, Daniele Vigolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Foam stability often refers to the foam left to evolve with time in static conditions. However, in everyday life, foams are submitted to numerous deformations. A feature of foam stability is represented by the foam’s ability to resist to the deformation and to recover its initial properties after deformation. The technique developed here allows for a qualitative evaluation of the property of foam recovery after a deformation in a flow-focusing microfluidic device. The foam hysteretic behaviour was evaluated by introducing the analogous of a standard three-step test in which the recovery of viscosity is commonly studied over three deformation stages. The foam behaviour is analysed over an induced cycle of ascendant and descendant deformation at the wall, well controlled by varying the gas pressure for a constant liquid pressure. Thus, the recovery of the two-row foam pattern used as reference is studied after a high deformation phase corresponding to the bamboo pattern and the level of hysteresis is measured qualitatively. The samples investigated comprise a range of Newtonian aqueous solutions containing 5 cmc (critical micellar concentration) of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS). A retardation effect was observed leading to hysteresis caused by the increase in viscosity. A higher surface elasticity produced a smaller but non-negligible hysteresis due to an excess in elastic energy caused by the increase of the duration of the bubble rearrangements. The present study has gone some way towards enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms triggering or enhancing foam hysteresis in a microchannel. The findings will be of interest to many industrial processes where foams are submitted to a series of deformation steps along the process line from food industrial applications to biological systems. Graphical abstract: A schematic of the three-step test consisting in an ascending and descending pressure ramps obtained by varying the gas pressure for a constant liquid pressure.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number129
Early online date8 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • foam
  • hysteresis
  • retardation
  • microfluidics


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