Controlling the Internal Structures of Polymeric Microspheres via the Introduction of a Water-Soluble Organic Solvent

Polymers (Basel). 2018 Jul 18;10(7):789. doi: 10.3390/polym10070789.


Polymeric microspheres with different internal structures have been widely used because of their characteristics in the structures. This paper reports a method of controlling the internal structures of polymeric microspheres via the introduction of a water-soluble organic solvent to the continuous phase in the foam phase preparation of porous polymeric microspheres. The introduction of a water-soluble organic solvent enables the control of polymeric microspheres' internal structures, from porous to hollow. Because a water-soluble organic solvent is introduced, the organic solvent may be diffused toward the interface because of the affinity between the organic solvent and the oil droplets, resulting an accumulation of organic solvent molecules at the interface to form an organic solvent layer. The presence of this layer may decrease the evaporation rate of the internal organic solvent in an oil droplet, which extends the time for the mingling of porogen droplets to form a few large pores or even an extremely large single pore inside. This method is also capable of altering the thickness of hollow microspheres' shells in a desired way, with improved efficiency, yield and the capacity for continuous use on an industrial scale.

Keywords: hollow; microsphere; polymer; porous; solvent evaporation; water-soluble organic solvent.