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Self-Stabilizing Encapsulation through Fast Interfacial Polymerization of Ethyl α‑Cyanoacrylate: From Emulsions to Microcapsule Dispersions

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posted on 2021-11-14, 13:30 authored by Xiaodong Lian, Shenglong Liao, Xiao-Qi Xu, Shoupeng Zhang, Yapei Wang
Herein, fast interfacial polymerization (FIP) of highly reactive ethyl α-cyanoacrylate (ECA) monomers triggered by water-soluble initiators is demonstrated as a brand new method for instantly providing a strong steric barrier at the oil–water interface to effectively stabilize water-in-oil emulsions and microcapsule dispersions without the assistance of additive interface-active agents. Compared with emulsions stabilized by synthetic surfactants, amphiphilic polymers, and solid particles, such emulsions exhibit unique and attractive properties. Although polyECA polymers are hydrophilic, water-in-oil emulsions are anomalously produced through the FIP method. By regulating the polymerization rate, the interfacial coverage of irreversibly absorbing polymers can reach 100% within only 15 s, which is also considered to form a microcapsule dispersion. Besides, this emulsification method is readily applicable to prepare high-internal-phase-emulsion-like (HIPE-like) systems with an internal-phase volume fraction of 75.0% and generate stable monodispersed droplets via a microfluidic technique. The self-stabilizing encapsulation process through the FIP method presented in this work does open a new sight in the research field of both emulsions and microcapsules and may possess promising industrial applications in multiple areas.

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