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Spontaneous phase separation of ternary fluid mixtures

Shek, Alvin C.M.; Kusumaatmaja, Halim

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Alvin C.M. Shek


We computationally study the spontaneous phase separation of ternary fluid mixtures using the lattice Boltzmann method both when all the surface tensions are equal and when they have different values. To rationalise the phase diagram of possible phase separation mechanisms, previous theoretical works typically rely on analysing the sign of the eigenvalues resulting from a simple linear stability analysis, but we find this does not explain the observed simulation results. Here, we classify the possible separation pathways into four basic mechanisms, and develop a phenomenological model that captures the composition regimes where each mechanism is prevalent. We further highlight that the dominant mechanism in ternary phase separation involves enrichment and instability of the minor component at the fluid-fluid interface, which is absent in the case of binary fluid mixtures.


Shek, A. C., & Kusumaatmaja, H. (2022). Spontaneous phase separation of ternary fluid mixtures. Soft Matter, 18(31), 5807-5814.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 20, 2022
Publication Date Aug 21, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 18, 2022
Journal Soft Matter
Print ISSN 1744-683X
Electronic ISSN 1744-6848
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 31
Pages 5807-5814


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