Applications of emulsions: Emulsions are useful in a number of ways. Some of the applications are discussed below:
a) In the metallurgical processes, the concentration of ore by forth floatation process is based upon the treatment of the powdered ore with oil emulsion. The valuable particles of the ore form foam which comes to the surface and is skimmed off.
b) Asphalt emulsified in water is used for building roads without the necessity of melting the asphalt.
c) Milk which is an important constituent of our diet is en emulsion of liquid fats in water.
d) Several oily drugs are prepared in the form of emulsions.
e) The cleansing action of ordinary soap for washing clothes, crockery etc. is based upon the formation of oil-in-water emulsion.
f) The designation of fats in the intestines takes place by the process of emulsification. A small amount of the fat reacts with the alkaline solution present in the intestines to form sodium soap. This soap causes the emulsification of the rest of the fat thereby making the function of the digestive enzymes easier in carrying out the metabolic processes.
Harmful effects of emulsions:
The formation of emulsions is sometimes harmful. For example: petroleum forms emulsion with water. Thus, in the petroleum wells, we get the emulsion sometimes instead of petroleum alone. Likewise, the areas where small amounts of petroleum are present, the well water becomes unfit for use.