<> MICROENCAPSULATION is a fascinating process in which tiny droplets or particles are wrapped with a protective coating yielding CAPSULES for countless applications.
In simple terms a capsule is a miniature container that protects its contents from evaporation, oxidation and contamination until its release is triggered.
The size is always tailored to suit the end product and the relevant processes involved in order assuring survival in sometimes hostile manufacturing conditions. For most applications the particle diameter is only a few microns across (one Micron = one thousandth of a millimetre). This means that the product remains invisible to the naked eye but high power microscopes open up an exciting insight into this curious dimension.
For example, an area of one square centimetre (cm2) would contain one million capsules if placed side by side in a standard coated paper application. This allows multiple releases in the same area until finally all capsules are broken.
The most common applications are the coating of paper and board resulting in a wide variety of end products such as disposable handkerchiefs, drawer liners, giftwrap, stationery, greeting cards, advertising, brochures, samplers, books, cartons, labels etc. other substrates such as textiles, certain plastics and even metal surfaces are becoming increasingly popular with encapsulate applied.
There are special applications where the encapsulation is used to keep two or more reactive substances in isolation from each other to provide better shelf life and also new formulation opportunities. The suggestions above are only some of the possible uses.
The development of new methods and the
ever-increasing range of new polymeric materials suitable for many different
techniques in encapsulation are a constant challenge.
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