Polymer encapsulation of fine particles by a supercritical antisolvent process

Yulu Wang, Robert Pfeffer, Rajesh Dave, Robert Enick

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58 Scopus citations


Coating and encapsulation of fine particles with polymer using a supercritical antisolvent (SAS) coating process was investigated in this research. Synthesized submicron silica particles were used as host particles and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), a biodegradable polymer used for controlled release of drugs, was chosen as the coating material. In the SAS coating process a suspension of silica particles in an acetone-polymer solution was sprayed through a capillary nozzle into supercritical (SC) CO2, which acts as an antisolvent for the acetone. A rapid mutual diffusion between the SC CO 2 and the acetone causes supersaturation of the polymer solution, leading to nucleation and precipitation of the polymer to encapsulate the silica particles. The operating parameters that have an effect on the coating process, such as polymer to particle weight ratio, polymer concentration, temperature, pressure, flow rate of polymer solution, and the addition of a SC CO2 soluble surfactant, were systematically studied. It is shown that the polymer to silica ratio and the polymer concentration are critical for the successful encapsulation of silica particles with minimum agglomeration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-455
Number of pages16
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


  • Agglomeration
  • Coating
  • Encapsulation
  • Particle
  • Supercritical CO


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