Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Asit K. Ray


Recently, considerable attention has been focused on the generation of nano- and micrometer scale multicomponent polymer particles with specifically tailored mechanical, electrical and optical properties. As only a few polymer-polymer pairs are miscible, the set of multicomponent polymer systems achievable by conventional methods, such as melt blending, is severely limited in property ranges. Therefore, researchers have been evaluating synthesis methods that can arbitrarily blend immiscible solvent pairs, thus expanding the range of properties that are practical. The generation of blended microparticles by evaporating a co-solvent from aerosol droplets containing two dissolved immiscible polymers in solution seems likely to exhibit a high degree of phase uniformity. A second important advantage of this technique is the formation of nano- and microscale particulates with very low impurities, which are not attainable through conventional solution techniques. When the timescale of solvent evaporation is lower than that of polymer diffusion and self-organization, phase separation is inhibited within the atto- to femto-liter volume of the droplet, and homogeneous blends of immiscible polymers can be produced. We have studied multicomponent polymer particles generated from highly monodisperse micrordroplets that were produced using a Vibrating Orifice Aerosol Generator (VOAG). The particles are characterized for both external and internal morphology along with homogeneity of the blends. Ultra-thin slices of polymer particles were characterized by a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and the degree of uniformity was examined using an Electron Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDAX). To further establish the homogeneity of the polymer blend microparticles, differential scanning calorimeter was used to measure the glass transition temperature of the microparticles obtained. A single glass transition temperature was obtained for these microparticles and hence the homogeneity of the blend was concluded. These results have its significance in the field of particulate encapsulation. Also, better control of the phase morphologies can be obtained by simply changing the solvent/solvents in the dilute solutions.

Evaporation and drying of a binary droplet containing a solute and a solvent is a complicated phenomenon. Most of the present models do not consider convection in the droplet phase as solvent is usually water which is not very volatile. In considering highly volatile solvents the evaporation is very rapid. The surface of the droplet recedes inwards very fast and there is an inherent convective flow that is established inside the solution droplet. In this dissertation work, a model is developed that incorporates convection inside the droplet. The results obtained are compared to the size obtained from experimental results. The same model when used with an aqueous solution droplet predicted concentration profiles that are comparable to results obtained when convection was not taken into account. These results have significance for more rigorous modeling of binary and multicomponent droplet drying.