Highly porous and permeable polymers are produced by polymerisation of the continuous phase of high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs). The morphology and properties of the resulting PolyHIPE materials can be varied, allowing the materials to be optimised for a variety of applications. Void diameter is controlled from 1 to around 100 μm by altering the HIPE stability. Surface areas greater than 700 m2g-1 can be achieved by replacing some of the monomer phase with non-polymerisable solvent, in conjunction with a high crosslink density and the use of a surfactant mixture that limits Ostwald ripening. PolyHIPEs can be produced in a variety of physical forms including large monolithic slabs, rods and flat relatively thin membranes. The materials are currently under investigation for use as electrochemical sensor membrane substrates and as porous matrices for cell culture.
- Cell culture