Macroporous polymer particles via reactive gelation under shear: effect of primary particle properties and operating parameters

Langmuir. 2014 Nov 25;30(46):13970-8. doi: 10.1021/la502153j. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


Reactive gelation under shear is a recently developed procedure toward rigid macroporous polymeric particles that does not require the use of any porogen. A comprehensive study of the effect of individual parameters on the resulting material characteristics is presented. Primary particle properties are found to be pivotal, namely, the primary particles size, cross-linking degree, and outer shell composition. Operating parameters also play a significant role; specifically, the effects of applied shear rate, salt feeding rate, swelling degree of primary particles, waiting time before postpolymerization, and postpolymerization temperature are investigated. By varying the operating conditions, the size, internal structure, as well as porosity of the fabricated microclusters may be controlled. The pores are invariably micrometer-sized, with pore size distributions exhibiting adjustable maxima. Thanks to the sequential character of the procedure, different parameters may be tuned individually at different stages along the preparation route, allowing thus for high versatility in the control of different properties of the final material.