Polymer Colloids: Formation, Characterization and Applications
Chapter 4: Design and Fabrication of Polymer Microparticles and Capsules Using Microfluidics
Published:02 Dec 2019
Special Collection: 2019 ebook collectionSeries: Soft Matter Series
William N. Sharratt, João T. Cabral, 2019. "Design and Fabrication of Polymer Microparticles and Capsules Using Microfluidics", Polymer Colloids: Formation, Characterization and Applications, Rodney Priestley, Robert Prud'homme
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Since the advent of microfluidics in the late 1990s, microfluidic approaches to polymer microparticle and capsule formation have become widespread. They benefit from the precise spatio-temporal control attainable over single and multi-phase channel flows, coupled with a range of solidification strategies, which enable the predictive and reproducible design and manufacture of unprecedented polymeric and composite particles. The control over particle shape, microstructure and architecture, monodispersity and regularity, provides unique chemical, biological, bio-medical and physical opportunities for the complex assembly and functionality of these materials. In this chapter, we summarise recent developments of the use of microfluidics for particle and capsule formation, providing an overview of the main approaches available for their manufacture. We describe key mechanistic and design considerations, including system compatibility and demonstrated capability, seeking to establish limitations and identify unexplored opportunities for these methods. We conclude with an outlook on future directions in terms of scalability, functionality, phase space mapping and commercial and societal impact, of this creative and rapidly evolving soft matter field.