Interfacial rheological properties of self-assembling biopolymer microcapsules

Abstract : Tuning the mechanical properties of microcapsules with cost-efficient route of fabrication is still a challenge. The traditional method of layer-by-layer assembly of microcapsules allows building a tailored composite multi-layer membrane but is technically complex as it requires numerous steps. The objective of this article is to characterize the interfacial rheological properties of self-assembling biopolymer microcapsules that were obtained in one single facile step. This thorough study provides new insights in the mechanics of these weakly cohesive membranes. Firstly, sus-pensions of water-in-oil microcapsules were formed in microfluidic junctions by self-assembling of two oppositely charged polyelectrolytes, namely chitosan (water soluble) and phosphatidic fatty acid (oil soluble). In this way, composite membranes of tunable thickness (between 40-900 nm measured by AFM) were formed at water / oil interfaces in a single step by changing the composition. Secondly, microcapsules were mechanically characterized by stretching them up to break-up in an extensional flow chamber which extends the relevance and convenience of the hydrodynamic method to weakly cohesive membranes. Finally, we show that the design of micro-capsules can be 'engineered' in a large way since they present a wealth of interfacial rheological properties in term of elasticity, plasticity and yield stress whose magnitudes can be controlled by the composition. These behaviors are explained by the variation of the membrane thickness with the physico-chemical parameters of the process.
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Kaili Xie, Clement de Loubens, Frédéric Dubreuil, Deniz Gunes, Marc Jaeger, et al.. Interfacial rheological properties of self-assembling biopolymer microcapsules. Soft Matter, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017, 13 (36), pp.6208-6217. ⟨10.1039/C7SM01377A⟩. ⟨hal-02020103⟩

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