Before discussing the purpose of an emulsifier mixer you need to understand what the terminology emulsifier relates to. Emulsifying is a scientific term used to describe the mixing of two or more liquids, ones that are usually nonmixable (also known as immiscible or unblendable). The end result is an emulsion and these are part of a bigger general class of two-phase structures of colloids. Inside an emulsion mixture there is always 2 factors – the first is a liquid dispersed phase which is then dissolved into the second one – the continuous phase. Examples of an emulsion could be milk, mayo, salad dressings etc.
Add to this the confusion that emulsion (as explained above) and an emulsifier are two different things entirely. An emulsifier is a material that steadies an emulsion by augmenting its kinetic solidity. This product will be added to the other materials during the mixing process. Some good examples of commonly found emulsifiers are:
Lecithin – This is the main emulsifying product in egg yolk.
Mucilage – found in mustard seed hulls.
Soy lecithin – Used not only as an emulsifier but also as a thickening agent
DATEM – used mostly in baking products as an emulsifier.
You can also have several different types of machines that will do this mixing for you. Some are just emulsifying mixer machines, others are with a vacuum, and some just focus on mixing while others will thicken the product at the same time. Various applications have lead to numerous designs, shapes, sizing and portability.
The main industries that use these mixers are the cosmetics industry, pharmaceutical industry, food industry, paint industry and personal hygiene products.
An example of a portable type of emulsifier mixer is a multi-purpose high shear mixer; this can be used in many locations for pill coatings, topical recipes and liquid dosages. Sometimes these machines are also called high-shear homogenizing mixers as they thicken as well as emulsify. Depending on the use, you can have continuous high-shear mixers as well as non-continuous. This basically means that a continuous mixer will carefully add ingredients to the mix at just the right time, meaning a consistent and thickened mixture will carry on coming out of the machine, the disadvantage of this is it is a slower process than the non-continuous counterpart.
This article just touches the tip of the iceberg in explaining emulsifier mixers but as you can see, they have many uses and without them we wouldn’t be able to create and use many products we take for granted.