Controlling the size of two-dimensional polymer platelets for water-in-water emulsifiers

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Abstract

A wide range of biorelevant applications, particularly in pharmaceutical formulations and the food and cosmetic industries, require the stabilization of two water-soluble blended components which would otherwise form incompatible biphasic mixtures. Such water-in-water emulsions can be achieved using Pickering stabilization, where two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are particularly effective due to their high surface area. However, control over the shape and size of the 2D nanomaterials is challenging, where it has not yet been possible to examine chemically identical nanostructures with the same thickness but different surface areas to probe the size-effect on emulsion stabilization ability. Hence, the rationale design and realization of the full potential of Pickering water-in-water emulsion stabilization have not yet been achieved. Herein, we report for the first time 2D poly(lactide) platelets with tunable sizes (with varying coronal chemistry) and of uniform shape using a crystallization-driven self-assembly methodology. We have used this series of nanostructures to explore the effect of 2D platelet size and chemistry on the stabilization of a water-in-water emulsion of a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)/dextran mixture. We have demonstrated that cationic, zwitterionic, and neutral large platelets (ca. 3.7 × 106 nm2) all attain smaller droplet sizes and more stable emulsions than their respective smaller platelets (ca. 1.2 × 105 nm2). This series of 2D platelets of controlled dimensions provides an excellent exemplar system for the investigation of the effect of just the surface area on the potential effectiveness in a particular application.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
JournalACS Central Science
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017