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Facile monitoring of water hardness levels using responsive complex emulsions

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Djalali,  Saveh
Lukas Zeininger, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Zeininger,  Lukas
Lukas Zeininger, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pavlovic, M., Babu, H. K. R. R., Djalali, S., Vraneš, M., Radonić, V., & Zeininger, L. (2021). Facile monitoring of water hardness levels using responsive complex emulsions. Analytical Chemistry, 93(27), 9390-9396. doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.1c00868.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-D376-5
Abstract
The cationic content of water represents a major quality control parameter that needs to be followed by a rapid, on-site, and low-cost method. Herein, we report a novel method for a facile monitoring of the mineral content of drinking water by making use of responsive complex emulsions. The morphology of biphasic oil-in-water droplets solely depends on the balance of interfacial tensions, and we demonstrate that changes in the surfactant effectiveness, caused by variations in the mineral content inside the continuous phase, can be visualized by monitoring internal droplet shapes. An addition of metal cations can significantly influence the surfactant critical micelle concentrations and the surface excess values and therefore induce changes in the effectiveness of ionic surfactants, such as sodium dodecyl sulfate. The morphological response of Janus emulsions droplets was tracked via a simple microscopic setup. We observed that the extent of the droplet response was dependent on the salt concentration and valency, with divalent cations (responsive for water hardness), resulting in a more pronounced response. In this way, Ca2+ and Mg2+ levels could be quantitatively measured, which we showcased by determination of the mineral content of commercial water samples. The herein demonstrated device concept may provide a new alternative rapid monitoring of water hardness levels in a simple and cost-effective setup.