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Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2002 Dec 2;99(3):181-213.

Hollow latex particles: synthesis and applications.

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The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI 48674, USA.


One of the major developments in emulsion polymerization over the last two decades has been the ability to make hollow latex particles. This has contributed many fundamental insights into the synthesis and the development of structure in particles. Hollow latex particles also enhance the performance of industrial coatings and potentially are useful in other technologies such as microencapsulation and controlled release. Ever since the publication of the initial process patents describing these particles, there has been a global R&D effort to extend the synthetic techniques and applications. One prominent synthetic approach to hollow particles is based on osmotic swelling. This dominates the literature, and usually starts with the synthesis of a structured latex particle containing an ionizable core that is subsequently expanded with the addition of base. Fundamental to this approach are a sophisticated control of transport phenomena, chemical reactivity within the particle, and the thermoplastic properties of the polymer shell. Hydrocarbon encapsulation technology has also been employed to make hollow latex particles. One approach involves a dispersed ternary system that balances transport, conversion kinetics, and phase separation variables to achieve the hollow morphology. Other techniques, including the use of blowing agents, are also present in the literature. The broad range of approaches that affords particles with a hollow structure demonstrates the unique flexibility of the emulsion polymerization process.

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