A novel membrane emulsification technique for microencapsulation in self-healing concrete: development and proof of concept
Abstract: Membrane emulsification is a promising new technique that can be deployed as a scalable modular conduit for the consistent and continuous production of single and complex emulsions. This work reports on the development of a manufacturing platform based on membrane emulsification for the first time for microcapsule-based self-healing cementitious materials. The feasibility of single and double emulsion production with wall formation as a secondary step through UV radical polymerisation was explored using a discrete membrane emulsification dispersion cell. The operational parameters (pressure, dispersed phase flux, temperature, shear rate) were established for the specific phase characteristics (viscosity, density, interfacial tension) to achieve control of emulsion droplets and maintain a high encapsulation of core content (high payload). Microcapsules with sodium silicate core and an average diameter of ∼130 μm were produced. Microcapsules were shown to achieve high payload (∼89%). Moreover their thermal stability was characterised and their release performance in the cementitious matrix established. The results demonstrated the capability of membrane emulsification to produce microcapsules with an aqueous core for use in self-healing of cementitious materials.