Sterically stabilized polystyrene latexes (previously described by Amalvy, J. I.; et al. Chem. Commun. 2003, 1826) were evaluated as pH-responsive particulate emulsifiers for the preparation of both oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions. The steric stabilizer was a well-defined AB diblock copolymer where A is poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) and B is poly(methyl methacrylate). Several parameters were varied during the emulsion preparation, including the polarity of the oil phase, the latex concentration, surface concentration of copolymer stabilizer, and solution pH. Nonpolar oils such as n-dodecane gave oil-in-water emulsions, and polar oils such as 1-undecanol produced water-in-oil emulsions. In both cases, these emulsions proved to be stimulus-responsive: demulsification occurred rapidly on adjusting the solution pH. Oils of intermediate polarity such as methyl myristate or cineole led to emulsions that underwent transitional inversion on adjusting the solution pH. All emulsions were polydisperse and typically ranged from 40 to 400 microm diameter, as judged by optical microscopy and Malvern Mastersizer measurements. Critical point drying of the emulsion droplets, followed by scanning electron microscopy studies, confirmed that the latex particles were adsorbed as a single monolayer at the oil/water interface, as anticipated.
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