AAPS PharmSci

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 62–73 | Cite as

Rheology and stability of water-in-oil-in-water multiple emulsions containing Span 83 and Tween 80



Multiple emulsions are often stabilized using a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfactants. The ratio of these surfactants is important in achieving stable multiple emulsions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term stability of water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) multiple emulsions with respect to the concentrations of Span 83 and Tween 80. In addition, the effect of surfactant and electrolyte concentration on emulsion bulk rheological properties was investigated. Light microscopy, creaming volume, and rheological properties were used to assess emulsion stability. It was observed that the optimal surfactant concentrations for W/O/W emulsion long-term stability were 20% wt/vol Span 83 in the oil phase and 0.1% wt/vol Tween 80 in the continuous phase. Higher concentrations of Tween 80 had a destructive effect on W/O/W emulsion stability, which correlated with the observation that interfacial film strength at the oil/water interface decreased as the Tween 80 concentration increased. High Span 83 concentrations increased the storage modulus G′ (solidlike) values and hence enhanced multiple emulsion stability. However, when 30% wt/vol Span 83 was incorporated, the viscosity of the primary W/O emulsion increased considerably and the emulsion droplets lost their shape. Salt added to the inner aqueous phase exerted an osmotic pressure that caused diffusion of water into the inner aqueous phase and increased W/O/W emulsion viscosity through an increase in the volume fraction of the primary W/O emulsion. This type of viscosity increase imposed a destabilizing effect because of the likelihood of rupture of the inner and multiple droplets.


multiple emulsions stability rheology surfactant 


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmaceutical R&DPGRD, Pfizer IncGroton
  2. 2.School of PharmacyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs

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