Aqueous core polystyrene microspheres fabricated via suspension polymerization basing on a multiple pickering emulsion



Multi-hollow or hollow polymer particles are of great interest in many fields. Here we successfully fabricate polystyrene microspheres with aqueous cores through w/o/w Pickering emulsion stabilized by modified SiO2 nanoparticles. The final structure and constituents of the microspheres is investigated via SEM, X-ray photoelectron spectra, and thermo-gravimetric analysis. The results demonstrate that the size and amount of aqueous cores in the microspheres can be tuned by the original structure of the multiple emulsions: when the volume fraction of inner water is 0.2, the inner structure of the microspheres obtained is porous and each pore is not interconnected; when the volume fraction of inner water is increased to 0.7, the resulting products are hollow microspheres and when 0.3% wt/vol of salt is added to the inner aqueous phase, the inner pores of the resulting microspheres enlarge or even coalesce. The multi-hollow or hollow polystyrene microspheres with aqueous cores are expected to be candidates for encapsulation in biotechnology. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39761.