An article by VANESSA ZAINZINGER for Chemistry World
Solving scalability issues to control particle size without high-shear mixing When membrane emulsification was first discovered in the 1980s by two Japanese chemists, Tadao Nakashima and Masaaki Shimizu, it promised to revolutionise emulsion production for everything from drug delivery systems to foodstuffs and cosmetics. For some reason, however, the technique – which uses membranes to produce emulsion droplets – wouldn’t make it out of the lab for another 30 years. The beauty of membrane emulsification is that it produces very precise emulsions of controlled droplet sizes and narrow droplet size distributions. But the technique has mostly stalled in commercial applications because of limitations in making high enough quality membranes, says Dai Hayward, chief executive of Teesside, UK-based Micropore Technologies.