Langmuir, 2017, vol 33, 46, pp. 13303-13314
Porous polystyrene microspheres were produced by a process of nonsolvent induced phase separation (NIPS) from ternary polymer–solvent–nonsolvent (polystyrene–toluene–ethanol) systems and characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) techniques. This study provides evidence for a link between the structural morphology of the porous polystyrene particles and the polystyrene concentration in the initial solutions. A reciprocal relationship between pore diameter and polymer concentration was observed for the systems with the polymer amount below the critical chain overlap concentration, C*. Above C*, this relationship breaks down. The reciprocal relationship between porosity and polymer concentration can be used to facilitate the fine control of the void size. We demonstrate that the observed reciprocal relationship between pore diameter and polymer concentration correlates well with the relative amount of nonsolvent present in the system at the onset of the phase separation process. The pore size can be reduced and, consequently, the pore surface area can be increased either by reducing the polymer concentration in the initial solution or by decreasing the polymer molecular weight in the sample composition.