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# droplets may give way to other regular or irregular shapes with a dramatic change in surface-to-volume features that may

determine entirely dierent functionalities (chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic, etc.). A rst step to start rationalizing these factors above discussed is the introduction of a shape parameter . This parameter reects how a particular form or shape deviates from the minimum normalized surface-to-volume ratio (that of the sphere). It is dened as = (62 )1/3 AV 2/3 1, (1)

where A and V are the surface area and bulk volume of the material under consideration. Here, the bulk volume V should be understood as a given mass M divided by the density of its constituent material. This very general denition can be applied to individual particles, to a given mass divided into many fragments (e.g., dispersions), to bulk materials with many holes or cavities (e.g., foams), etc. In the simplest case of individual particles making up the basic structure of a certain dispersion, the parameter (1) can be applied to the geometry of the individual grain or particle to reect basic functional properties of the grains related to their interaction with each other and the environment, e.g., 1. Packing eciency 2. Predetermined directionality for self-assembly 3. Velocity of dissolution; specically, release of constituent material (e.g., API) per unit time 4. Shape of the release value with time A brief illustrative summary of basic shapes and their -index is given in Table I. Naturally, the index of a given bulk matter volume V increases with the number of particles after a fragmentation step. If a droplet partition leads to a number N of identical siblings, then = N 1/3 . However, this value may vary signicantly depending on the relative sizes among these siblings in real life (Fig. 1), leading -again- to completely dierent functional features. Thus, one needs to incorporate some basic stochastic considerations in the rationale just outlined. 1.4. Stochastic issues Obviously, fragmentation [29] very often leads to size variety (Figs. 1 and 3). From the point of view of functionality, size-to-volume ratio is reected 7