Unlike emulsions, microemulsions are thermodynamically stable. Its stability is often explained by entropy changes brought about by dispersing liquid in another liquid, however this can't be the whole story behind its stability since dispersing liquids also happens in regular emulsions and they aren't stable thermodynamically.

I am not sure if I am correct, but I think that stability of microemulsions is due to the interactions between molecules on liquid interphase and emulsifier being better (stronger) than between molecules in the bulk of the liquid droplet in similar way when liquid spreads on the surface of the solid forming no contact angle with the surface. If interactions between emulsifier and surface molecules are more favourable than surface molecules have lower potential energy compared to the bulk and there is tendency to increase surface area between molecules and emulsifier or in other words there is tendency to create emulsion.

I wasn't able to find this explanation anywhere online though, but I think it has sense. What are your thoughts?

  • $\begingroup$ I think they are more like a true solution of a supramolecular complex, when normal emulsions are rather two phases only somewhat protected from separating. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Dec 29 '21 at 23:09

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