Structured microparticles with tailored properties produced by membrane emulsification

2015-09-29T13:16:37Z (GMT) by Goran T. Vladisavljevic
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. This paper provides an overview of membrane emulsification routes for fabrication of structured microparticles with tailored properties for specific applications. Direct (bottom-up) and premix (top-down) membrane emulsification processes are discussed including operational, formulation and membrane factors that control the droplet size and droplet generation regimes. A special emphasis was put on different methods of controlled shear generation on membrane surface, such as cross flow on the membrane surface, swirl flow, forward and backward flow pulsations in the continuous phase and membrane oscillations and rotations. Droplets produced by membrane emulsification can be used for synthesis of particles with versatile morphology (solid and hollow, matrix and core/shell, spherical and non-spherical, porous and coherent, composite and homogeneous), which can be surface functionalised and coated or loaded with macromolecules, nanoparticles, quantum dots, drugs, phase change materials and high molecular weight gases to achieve controlled/targeted drug release and impart special optical, chemical, electrical, acoustic, thermal and magnetic properties. The template emulsions including metal-in-oil, solid-in-oil-in-water, oil-in-oil, multilayer, and Pickering emulsions can be produced with high encapsulation efficiency of encapsulated materials and narrow size distribution and transformed into structured particles using a variety of solidification processes, such as polymerisation (suspension, mini-emulsion, interfacial and in-situ), ionic gelation, chemical crosslinking, melt solidification, internal phase separation, layer-by-layer electrostatic deposition, particle self-assembly, complex coacervation, spray drying, sol-gel processing, and molecular imprinting. Particles fabricated from droplets produced by membrane emulsification include nanoclusters, colloidosomes, carbon aerogel particles, nanoshells, polymeric (molecularly imprinted, hypercrosslinked, Janus and core/shell) particles, solder metal powders and inorganic particles. Membrane emulsification devices operate under constant temperature due to low shear rates on the membrane surface, which range from (1-10)×103 s-1 in a direct process to (1-10)×104 s-1 in a premix process.