NSTI Nanotech 2009

Industrial applications of spherical polymer particles and hollow silica shells

D.E. Lynch
Exilica Limited, UK

Keywords: polymer, particle, silica, shells


Incorporated in 2005, Exilica Limited is a UK university spin-out company that has been established to exploit the production and use of micrometer-sized spherical polymer particles (called µ-Sq beads) and sub-micrometer sized hollow silica shells. Both the beads and the shells can be used to ‘contain’ a variety of other materials and compounds and find use as novel delivery agents. The beads take on such species via an absorption mechanism, much like a sponge, whereas in the case of the shells, the filling compounds are contained within the shell void space. Both types of particles can discharge their contents in varying slow release mechanisms, depending upon their environment and / or final formulation. The preparations of both the beads and the shells are inherently simple and scaleable, allowing for large-scale industrial production. The potential applications for Exilica’s polymer beads and hollow silica shells are numerous and range from over-the-counter medicines and cosmetics through to specialty polymers and catalysts. The target customers for Exilica’s products are companies, many of them large multinationals, who operate in a number of the areas identified and who are continually developing new products for their, mainly, consumer markets.
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