Steric stabilization of pickering emulsions for the efficient synthesis of polymeric microcapsules

J.W.O. Salari, L.J. van Heck, L. Klumperman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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It is commonly known that Pickering emulsions are extremely stable against coalescence and are, therefore, potentially interesting for the synthesis of new materials, such as colloidosomes, microcapsules, composite particles, foams, and so on. However, for the efficient synthesis of such materials, one also has to consider the colloidal stability against aggregation, which is often neglected. In this study, it is demonstrated that steric stabilization is provided to Pickering emulsion droplets by the adsorption of poly(styrene-block-ethylene-co-propylene) (pS-b-EP) and that it is a requirement for the efficient synthesis of polymeric microcapsules. Monodisperse polystyrene particles of 648 nm are synthesized by soap-free emulsion polymerization. A model Pickering emulsion is then formed by the addition of sodium chloride at a critical concentration of 325 mM and mixing it with either heptane or decane. Subsequently, pS-b-EP is added to the Pickering emulsion to provide steric stabilization. Size exclusion chromatography is used to prove and quantify the adsorption of pS-b-EP onto the Pickering emulsion droplets. A maximum surface coverage of 1.3 mg/m2 is obtained after 2 h, which is approximately one-third of the adsorption on a pure pS surface. We believe that the presence of polar sulfate groups on the particle, which initially stabilized the particle in water, reduces the adsorption of pS-b-EP. Microcapsules are formed by heating the Pickering emulsion above the glass-transition temperature of the particles. Significant aggregation is observed, if no pS-b-EP is used. The adsorption of pS-b-EP provides steric stabilization to the Pickering emulsion droplets, reduces aggregation significantly, and ultimately leads to the successful and efficient synthesis of pS microcapsules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14929-14936
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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