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Issue 23, 2009
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New insights into the relationship between internal phase level of emulsion templates and gas–liquid permeability of interconnected macroporous polymers

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Abstract

Interconnected macroporous polymers can be made by polymerisation of emulsion templates consisting of an aqueous phase and a monomer phase (typically styrene and divinylbenzene) in which the aqueous (internal) phase is in the form of drops and the monomer phase is the continuous phase between the drops. Until recently it was thought that interconnected macroporous polymers could only be produced from the polymerisation of high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) templates with an internal phase level exceeding 74 vol%. Improvement of the poor mechanical performance, characteristic of such macroporous polymers, was achieved simply by increasing the material density of the macroporous polymer. However, this required a reduction in the internal phase volume of the emulsion template. Polymerisation of the continuous organic phase of emulsion templates with an internal phase volume ranging from 84 vol% to 70 vol% resulted in the production of poly(merised)HIPEs, polymerisation of medium internal phase emulsions with internal phase volume ranging from 70 vol% to 30 vol% in polyMIPEs and polymerisation of a low internal phase emulsion with an internal phase volume of 25 vol% in a polyLIPE. The resulting macroporous polymers were characterised in terms of mechanical and structural properties as well as gas and mercury permeability. Compression tests show that mechanical properties improved as the material density was increased. Gas and mercury permeability measurements show that as the internal phase volume of the emulsion template is reduced, the permeability of the resultant macroporous polymer is also reduced. However, surprisingly even macroporous polymers produced from low internal phase emulsion templates (25 vol%) were permeable with a gas permeability of 2.6 × 10−14m2 indicating that polyLIPEs are still interconnected macroporous polymers. Reconstruction modelling of the transport properties of porous materials shows that the permeability of a porous material with similar structures to that of the macroporous polymers increases exponentially with the porosity.

Graphical abstract: New insights into the relationship between internal phase level of emulsion templates and gas–liquid permeability of interconnected macroporous polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jan 2009, accepted on 27 Jul 2009 and first published on 25 Sep 2009


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B900426B
Citation: Soft Matter, 2009,5, 4780-4787
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    New insights into the relationship between internal phase level of emulsion templates and gas–liquid permeability of interconnected macroporous polymers

    S. S. Manley, N. Graeber, Z. Grof, A. Menner, G. F. Hewitt, F. Stepanek and A. Bismarck, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 4780
    DOI: 10.1039/B900426B

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