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Preparation of Polymer Microspheres by Phase-Separation/Aggregation (PSA) Technique for Color Toner Applications

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A particle formation method related to controlled phase separation of organic and aqueous phases, and limited aggregation/coalescence is reported. The method can be applied effectively to form microspherical polymer particles for use as electrophotographic toners. An organic solution containing a polymer resin dissolved in a solvent and an aqueous phase containing an anti-aggregation agent are prepared. The aqueous solution is added to the organic solution during vigorous stirring to facilitate aggregation of gel colloids and diffusion of solvent into the aqueous phase due to the partial aqueous solubility of the solvent. As opposed to the case when the organic phase is added to the aqueous phase under an extremely high speed of agitation (>10,000 rpm), this phase-separation/aggregation process only requires an agitation speed of 1,000∼1,500 rpm. Furthermore, removal of solvents due to diffusion into the aqueous phase is in process at the same time as the formation of gel particles. The depletion of solvents in the organic phase results in solid particle formation. Fine control of particle size distribution can be achieved by careful adjustments of the viscosity values of both the organic and the aqueous solutions. This phase-separation/aggregation method offers numerous advantages for preparation of toners including fast production run and extremely sharp particle size distribution, with mean volume-averaged diameter to mean number-averaged diameter ratios dv/dn smaller than 1.1. The particle shape can also be tuned by the selection of different aqueous solubility of the solvents. Both styrene/acrylate based and polyester based materials can be applied for formation of microspherical particles by using the phase-separation/aggregation technique.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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