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Forming emulsions

Image Number 6 for United States Patent #6764213.

Emulsification is achieved by directing a jet of fluid along a first path, and interposing a structure in the first path to cause the fluid to be redirected in a controlled flow along a new path, the first path and the new path being oriented to cause shear and cavitation in the fluid. A hot emulsion is stabilized immediately after formation by causing the emulsion to flow away from the outlet end of an emulsion forming structure, and causing a cooling fluid to flow in a direction generally opposite to the flow of the emulsion and in close enough proximity to exchange heat with the emulsion flow. In another aspect, emulsification of a first fluid component within a second fluid component is achieved by providing an essentially stagnant supply of the first fluid component in a cavity, and directing a jet of the second fluid component into the first fluid component, with the temperatures and the jet velocities of the fluids being chosen to cause cavitation due to hydraulic separation at the interface between the two fluids. In other aspects, a coiled tube is used to reduce pressure fluctuations in an emulsifying cell fed from a fluid line by a high pressure pump; A two-piece nozzle is used in an emulsification structure; an absorption cell has a reflective surface at the end of the chamber for reflecting the jet, and a mechanism is provided for adjusting the distance from the reflective surface to the open end; a modular emulsification structure includes a series of couplings that can be fitted together in a variety of ways.

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