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“On-The-Fly” Fabrication of Highly-Ordered Interconnected Cylindrical and Spherical Porous Microparticles via Dual Polymerization Zone Microfluidics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12731-12743
JournalLangmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Volume35
Issue number39
Early online date28 Aug 2019
DOIs
Accepted/In press28 Aug 2019
E-pub ahead of print28 Aug 2019
Published1 Oct 2019

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Abstract

A microfluidic platform with dual photopolymerization zones has been developed for production of novel uniform interconnected porous particles with shapes imposed either by the geometry of the external capillary or by the thermodynamic minimisation of interfacial area. Double w/o/w drops with well-defined internal droplet size and number were produced and then exposed to online photopolymerization to create the porous particles. Cylindrical interconnected porous particles were produced in a segmented flow where the drops took the shape of the capillary. The microfluidic set up included an extension capillary where the drops relaxed and conformed to their thermodynamically favoured morphology. Window opening of the particles occurred “on-the-fly” during UV polymerization without using any offline auxiliary methods. A distinction was made between critically and highly packed arrangements in double drops. The window opening occurred consistently for highly packed spherical drops, but only for critically packed drops containing more than 6 internal cores at internal phase ratio as low as 0.35. The size and number of cores, shape and structure of double drops could be precisely tuned by the flowrate and by packing structure of the inner droplets.

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