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Synthesis of two-phase polymer particles in supercritical carbon dioxide

Haddleton, Alice; Bennett, Thomas M.; Chen, Xinyong; Atkinson, Rachel L.; Taresco, Vincenzo; Howdle, Steven M.


Alice Haddleton

Thomas M. Bennett

Xinyong Chen

Rachel L. Atkinson


The synthesis of particles with discrete phases using traditional emulsion polymerisation is a well-established process. Phase-separated particles have a wide range of applications, such as in coatings, drug delivery, impact modification and as supports in catalysis. However, as a dry powder is often desired for the end application, post-polymerisation, energy intensive drying steps are usually required for the removal of water. Alternatively, dispersion polymerisation utilising supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as a reaction medium allows for the production of dry, free-flowing powders upon release of the CO2. Here, we present the innovative use of scCO2 to provide a novel and environmentally acceptable route for creating phase-separated particles. Particles containing a high Tg poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) phase, combined with a low Tg polymer phase of either poly(benzyl acrylate) (PBzA) or poly(butyl acrylate) (PBA), were investigated. Both monomers were added to the reaction after the formation of PMMA seed particles. Benzyl acrylate (BzA) was chosen as a model low Tg monomer, with well-defined and detectable functionality when mixed with PMMA. Butyl acrylate (BA) was also used as an alternative, more industrially relevant monomer. The loading of the low Tg monomer was varied and full characterisation of the particles produced was performed to elucidate their internal morphologies and compositions.


Haddleton, A., Bennett, T. M., Chen, X., Atkinson, R. L., Taresco, V., & Howdle, S. M. (2020). Synthesis of two-phase polymer particles in supercritical carbon dioxide. Polymer Chemistry, 11(31), 5029-5039 .

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 8, 2020
Publication Date Aug 21, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 13, 2020
Journal Polymer Chemistry
Print ISSN 1759-9954
Electronic ISSN 1759-9962
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 31
Pages 5029-5039
Keywords Organic Chemistry; Biochemistry; Bioengineering; Polymers and Plastics
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract


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