Poly(methyl methacrylate) hollow particles by water-in-oil-in-water emulsion polymerization
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Poly(methyl methacrylate) particles having hollow structures were produced by water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) emulsion polymerization where sorbitan monooleate (Span80) was used as a primary surfactant and sodium laurylsulfate and Glucopen (APG, polypeptide derivative) were used as secondary surfactants. Urethane acrylate having a molecular structure with a hard segment in the molecular backbone, a long soft segment in the middle, and vinyl groups at both ends was employed as a reactive viscosity enhancer. At low concentration of urethane acrylate, only a few particles contained a void in the polymer phase. However, as the concentration of urethane acrylate increased, the number of the particles containing the void increased. This was because urethane acrylate increased the viscosity of the monomer mixture and helped to form the stable W/O/W emulsion droplets, which possibly restricted droplet coalescence during emulsion polymerization. Moreover, at high concentration of urethane acrylate (above 7 wt%), multi-hollow-structured particles were obtained. It is believed that the increase in the lyophilicity of the monomer mixture caused by urethane acrylate led to stronger interfacial activity of the primary surfactant (Span80) and finally resulted in many internal aqueous droplets.
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