Hollow latex particles are used as white pigments for paints and paper coatings. In the coating dispersion, each hollow particle is filled with water. As the coating dries, water vacates the latex, leaving an air-filled void sized to scatter light (~0.5 μm) within each particle. Examinations of dried coatings reveal that hollow particles can collapse, decreasing their light scattering efficiency. Cryogenic scanning electron microscopy (cryoSEM) was used to characterize the microstructure of coatings containing hollow latex during drying. Images suggest latex voids empty after air invades into the coating interstitial space and collapse occurs late in the drying process. The effects of temperature (10-60°C), humidity (20-80%), and binder concentration (0-30 wt%) on particle collapse were also studied through SEM of dried coating surfaces. High drying temperature, high humidity, and low binder concentrations promoted collapse. For hollow latex particles with porous shell walls, temperature and humidity had little effect, whereas binder increased collapse. From these results, a theoretical model is proposed. During drying, diffusion of water from the particle creates a vacuum inside the latex. The vacuum is either relieved by nucleation of a gas bubble from the dissolved air in the water-filled particle or it causes the particle to collapse by buckling.
- Hollow latex
- Opaque polymer