Preparation of monodisperse poly(vinyl alcohol) microspheres by heterogeneous surface saponification and iodine complex formation



Monodisperse poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc) microspheres with high molecular weight obtained by suspension polymerization of vinyl acetate were saponified in alkaline aqueous solution to keep their spherical structure. The saponification was restricted on the surface of the PVAc microspheres and obtained particles had skin/core structure. Various poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) microspheres with different diameters and degrees of saponification (DSs) were obtained. The conversion of PVAc to PVA during the heterogeneous surface saponification time were examined by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and after 72 h hydrogel type PVA microspheres completely saponified were obtained. The crystal melting temperatures of the microspheres obtained by the saponification were measured a constant value of 238°C irrespective of varying DS, and the peaks became enlarged as reaction time. Iodine complexes were formed in saponified microspheres with DS of 41% and 99% by immersing them in I2/KI aqueous solution and decomposed by the reduction of I2 in the complexes to 2I using sodium sulfite to confirm whether the skin formed through the saponification was composed of PVA with high VA content. Obviously, characteristic blue color developments owing to I5-PVA complexes were observed in both saponified regions and a red in the PVAc core. Consequently, it was concluded that the PVA skins formed by heterogeneous surface saponification had high DSs. Such complexes endowed polymeric microspheres a good radiopacity which would be useful in clinical treatment of vascular diseases and were examined by X-ray irradiation image. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2008