Impact of the Formulation Pathway on the Colloidal State and Crystallinity of Poly-ε-caprolactone Particles Prepared by Solvent Displacement

Abstract : The formulation pathway and/or the mixing method are known to be relevant in many out-of-equilibrium processes. In this work, we studied the effect of the mixing conditions on the physicochemical properties of poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) particles prepared by solvent displacement. More specifically, water was added in one shot (fast addition) or drop by drop to PCL solution in tetrahydrofuran (THF) to study the impact of the mixing process on particle properties including size, stability, and crystallinity. Two distinct composition maps representing the Ouzo domain characteristic of the presence of metastable nanoparticles have been established for each mixing method. Polymer nanoparticles are formed in the Ouzo domain according to a nucleation and growth (or aggregation) mechanism. The fast addition promotes a larger nucleation rate, thus favoring the formation of small and uniform particles. For the drop-by-drop addition, for which the polymer solubility gradually decreases, the composition trajectories systematically cross an intermediate unstable region between the solubility limit of the polymer and the Ouzo domain. This leads to heterogeneous nucleation as shown by the formation of larger and less stable particles. Particles formed in the Ouzo domain have semi-crystalline properties. The PCL melting point is decreased with the THF fraction trapped in particles in accordance with Flory’s theory for melt crystallization. On the other hand, the degree of crystallinity is constant, around 20% regardless of the THF fraction. No difference between fast and slow addition could be detected on the semi-crystalline properties of the particles which emphasize that thermodynamic rather than kinetic factors drive the polymer crystallization in particles. The recovery of bulk PCL crystallinity after the removal of THF from particles tends to confirm this hypothesis.
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Langmuir, American Chemical Society, 2018, 34 (7), pp.2531-2542. 〈https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b04198〉. 〈10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b04198〉
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Carlotta Pucci, Fabrice Cousin, François Dole, Jean-Paul Chapel, Christophe Schatz. Impact of the Formulation Pathway on the Colloidal State and Crystallinity of Poly-ε-caprolactone Particles Prepared by Solvent Displacement. Langmuir, American Chemical Society, 2018, 34 (7), pp.2531-2542. 〈https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b04198〉. 〈10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b04198〉. 〈hal-01756032〉

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