Morphological analysis of psma/pei core–shell nanoparticles synthesized by soap-free emulsion polymerization

Jae Jung Park, Yongsoo Kim, Chanmin Lee, Donghyun Kim, Wonjun Choi, Hyukjun Kwon, Jung Hyun Kim, Ki Seob Hwang, Jun Young Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Emulsion polymerization presents the disadvantage that the physical properties of polymer particles are altered by surfactant adsorption. Therefore, in the soap-free emulsion polymerization method, a hydrophilic initiator is utilized while inducing repulsion among particles on the polymer particle surface, resulting in stable polymer particle production. In this study, we developed a methodology wherein spherical and uniform poly(styrene-co-maleic anhydride) (PSMA)/polyethyleneimine (PEI) core–shell nanoparticles were prepared. Further, their morphology was analyzed. During PSMA polymerization, the addition of up to 30% maleic anhydride (MA) resulted in stable polymerization. In PSMA/PEI nanoparticle fabrication, the number of reactants increased with increased initial monomer feed amounts; consequently, the particle size increased, and as the complete monomer consumption time increased, the particle distribution widened. The styrene (St) copolymer acted as a stabilizer, reducing particle size and narrowing particle distribution. Furthermore, the monomers were more rapidly consumed at high initiator concentrations, irrespective of the initiator used, resulting in increased particle stability and narrowed particle distribution. The shell thickness and particle size were PEI feed ratio dependent, with 0.08 being the optimal PEI-to-MA ratio. The fabricated nanoparticles possess immense potential for application in environmental science and in chemical and health care industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1958
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2019R1A6A1A11055660) and supported by the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (IPET) through Agricultural Machinery/Equipment Localization Technology Development Program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) (121027031HD020), and supported by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology as “Development of eco-friendly production system technology for total periodic resource cycle (kitech EO-20-0022)”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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