The rational formulation of Pickering double emulsions is described using a judicious combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic block copolymer worms as highly anisotropic emulsifiers. More specifically, RAFT dispersion polymerization was utilized to prepare poly(lauryl methacrylate)–poly(benzyl methacrylate) worms at 20% w/w solids in n-dodecane and poly(glycerol monomethacrylate)–poly(2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate)–poly(benzyl methacrylate) worms at 13% w/w solids in water by polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA). Water-in-oil-in-water (w/o/w) double emulsions can be readily prepared with mean droplet diameters ranging from 30 to 80 μm using a two-stage approach. First, a w/o precursor emulsion comprising 25 μm aqueous droplets is prepared using the hydrophobic worms, followed by encapsulation within oil droplets stabilized by the hydrophilic worms. The double emulsion droplet diameter and number of encapsulated water droplets can be readily varied by adjusting the stirring rate employed during the second stage. For each stage, the droplet volume fraction is relatively high at 0.50. The double emulsion nature of the final formulation was confirmed by optical and fluorescence microscopy studies. Such double emulsions are highly stable to coalescence, with little or no change in droplet diameter being detected over storage at 20 °C for 10 weeks as judged by laser diffraction. Preliminary experiments indicate that the complementary o/w/o emulsions can also be prepared using the same pair of worms by changing the order of homogenization, although somewhat lower droplet volume fractions were required in this case. Finally, we demonstrate that triple and even quadruple emulsions can be formulated using these new highly anisotropic Pickering emulsifiers.
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Thompson, K. L., Mable, C. J., Lane, J. A., Derry, M. J., Fielding, L. A., & Armes, S. P. (2015). Preparation of Pickering Double Emulsions Using Block Copolymer Worms. Langmuir, 31(14), 4137-4144. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b00741