Conventional synthesis of porous spherical particulate polymer resins via suspension polymerisation involves a complex combination of processes (polymerisation, crosslinking, phase separation and microgel formation, microgel fusion and pore in-filling). We have now succeeded in producing porous polymer microspheres via the self-assembly of pre-formed monodisperse poly(styrene-co-methacrylic acid) latex particles (ca. 200 nm). The self-assembly is performed in suspension in toluene and is driven by the removal of water at ca. 105degreesC. This thermal process also induces contact fusion of the latex particles.
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