Low-Ceiling-Temperature Polymer Microcapsules with Hydrophobic Payloads via Rapid Emulsion-Solvent Evaporation

We report a microencapsulation procedure based on rapid solvent evaporation to prepare microcapsules with hydrophobic core materials and low-ceiling-temperature polymer shell wall of cyclic poly­(phthalaldehyde) (cPPA). We use and compare microfluidic and bulk emulsions. In both methods, rapid solvent evaporation following emulsification resulted in kinetically trapped core–shell microcapsules, whereas slow evaporation resulted in acorn morphology. Through the systematic variation of encapsulation parameters, we found that polymer-to-core weight ratios higher than 1 and polymer concentrations higher than 4.5 wt % in the oil phase were required to obtain a core–shell structure. This microencapsulation procedure enabled the fabrication of microcapsules with high core loading, controlled size, morphology, and stability. This procedure is versatile, allowing for the encapsulation of other hydrophobic core materials, i.e., mineral oil and organotin catalyst, or using an alternative low-ceiling-temperature polymer shell wall, poly­(vinyl <i>tert</i>-butyl carbonate sulfone).