The role of surfactant type and bubble surface mobility in foam rheology
This paper is an overview of our recent understanding of the effects of surfactant type and bubble surface mobility on foam rheological properties. The focus is on the viscous friction between bubbles in steadily sheared foams, as well as between bubbles and confining solid wall. Large set of experimental results is reviewed to demonstrate that two qualitatively different classes of surfactants can be clearly distinguished. The first class is represented by the typical synthetic surfactants (such as sodium dodecylsulfate) which are characterised with low surface modulus and fast relaxation of the surface tension after a rapid change of surface area. In contrast, the second class of surfactants exhibits high surface modulus and relatively slow relaxation of the surface tension. Typical examples for this class are the sodium and potassium salts of fatty acids (alkylcarboxylic acids), such as lauric and myristic acids. With respect to foam rheology, the second class of surfactants leads to significantly higher viscous stress and to different scaling laws of the shear stress vs. shear rate in flowing foams. The reasons for these differences are discussed from the viewpoint of the mechanisms of viscous dissipation of energy in sheared foams and the respective theoretical models. The process of bubble breakup in sheared foams (determining the final bubble-size distribution after foam shearing) is also discussed, because the experimental results and their analysis show that this phenomenon is controlled by foam rheological properties.