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High-Pressure Microfluidization Enables Oil Droplets To Enter Inorganic Crystals

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Particle technology is an important
discipline that underpins many industrial sectors, including biomedical
applications, latex paints and coatings, engine oil additives, viscosity
modifiers and emulsion stabilization. Steve Armes, Professor of Polymer and
Colloid Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, is one of the UK's leading
experts in particle science and technology, with more than thirty years of
research experience in this field. In particular, he designs a wide range of
microscopic polymer particles on the nanoscale.

Armes said "It is well known that oil
and water do not mix. Similarly, the incorporation of oil droplets within
inorganic crystals is highly counter-intuitive because there is a large
difference in surface energy for these two components. Our new occlusion
protocol, developed using the high-pressure LV-1 microfluidizer, has enabled
either oil-soluble dyes or oil-dispersible hydrophobic nanoparticles to be incorporated
for the first time within host crystals. This exciting new innovation has
considerable potential to be used as a new environmentally-friendly matrix for
the microencapsulation and controlled release of a wide range of actives for
various commercial applications. In view of this, we have filed a preliminary
patent application to protect the IP associated with our work.”

The LV1 Microfluidizer is a high shear homogenizer
which aims to process samples as small as 1 ml. The LV1 has been designed to
achieve operating pressures up to 30,000 psi for samples ranging from 1-6 ml.
Using proprietary fixed-geometry interaction chamber technology, the LV1 is
capable of processing a wide variety of fluids such as oil-in-water emulsions,
solids-in-liquid suspensions, and cells, including the most difficult yeasts
and plant cells, in as few as 1-2 passes. The process is also repeatable and can
 scale up to pilot and/or production