Palladium (Pd)-loaded poly-hydromethylsiloxane (PHMS) microparticles of tunable size and elasticity are prepared in a capillary-based coaxial flow-focusing microfluidic device constructed using off-the-shelf components. Simultaneous droplet formation and chemical cross-linking processes are performed by tuning the dilution of the cross-linking catalyst in the annular flow of the microreactor, resulting in PHMS microparticles synthesized in a single step. The size of the elastomeric microparticles can be tuned by adjusting the flow rate ratio of the polymer and cross-linker mixture to water, while the elasticity can be tuned by the polymer to cross-linker ratio as well as the flow rate ratio of the polymer mixture to cross-linking catalyst mixture. Microparticle elasticity is characterized by the degree of solvent uptake. Application of the synthesized PHMS microparticles in organic synthesis is demonstrated by producing monodispersed Pd-loaded microparticles and utilizing them as microreaction vessels for continuous Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling in a Pd-loaded microparticle-packed bed reactor. © 2018 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 64: 3188–3197, 2018.
Bennett, J. A., Kristof, A. J., Vasudevan, V., Genzer, J., Srogl, J., & Abolhasani, M. (2018). Microfluidic synthesis of elastomeric microparticles: A case study in catalysis of palladium-mediated cross-coupling. AIChE Journal, 64(8), 3188–3197. https://doi.org/10.1002/aic.16119