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Required HLB of Oil

Question asked by Karen Wisniewski on Sep 29, 2020

I am outlining a class I'm going to teach on HLB theory.  There seem to be a million sources on the internet to explain how to calculate the HLB of a (nonionic) surfactant in order to match it to the "HLB" (or more correctly the "required HLB) of the oil that is going to be emulsified.  However, I am having great difficulty finding an explanation of how the required HLB of an OIL is determined in the first place.  I can find lists of the required HLB of various commercially important oils but not how they were determined!  Was it just trial and error?  Was it the inverse case - the HLB of the surfactant that successfully emulsified the oil was known so that HLB was assigned to the oil?  This would seem to be a fundamental principle in this area of surfactant science but I'll be darned if I can find the information.  Anyone have an explanation or an example of a method for determining the required HLB of an oil?

Thanks!

Karen

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