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Research Papers

Fabrication of Double-Layered Alginate Capsules Using Coaxial Nozzle

[+] Author and Article Information
Yifei Jin

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611

Danyang Zhao

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Dalian University of Technology,
Dalian, Liaoning 116023, China

Yong Huang

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611
e-mail: yongh@ufl.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received March 23, 2017; final manuscript received August 8, 2017; published online September 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Martin Jun.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 5(4), 041007 (Sep 28, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: JMNM-17-1014; doi: 10.1115/1.4037646 History: Received March 23, 2017; Revised August 08, 2017

Multilayered encapsulation has been of great interest for various pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries. Fabrication of well-defined capsules with more than one shell layer still poses a significant fabrication challenge. This study aims to investigate the feasibility of using a coaxial nozzle to fabricate double-layered (core–shell–shell) capsules during vibration-assisted dripping. A three-layered coaxial nozzle has been designed, manufactured, and tested for double-layered capsule fabrication when using sodium alginate solutions as the model liquid material for inner and outer shell layers and calcium chloride solution as the core fluid. To facilitate the droplet formation process, a vibrator has been integrated into the fabrication system to provide necessary perturbation for effective breakup of the fluid flow. It is demonstrated that double-layered alginate capsules can be successfully fabricated using the proposed three-layered coaxial nozzle fabrication system. During fabrication, increasing the core flow rate leads to an increase in capsule and core diameters while the inner and outer shell layer thicknesses decrease. Increasing annular flow rate results in an increase in capsule diameter and inner shell layer thickness while the outer shell layer thickness decreases. An increase in the sheath flow rate leads to an increase in capsule diameter and outer shell layer thickness but has no significant effect on the core diameter and inner shell layer thickness.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Multilayered capsule fabrication system: (a) double-layered capsule fabrication system (inset: image of the three-layered coaxial nozzle; scale bar: 10 mm) and (b) a double-layered capsule being fabricated (scale bar: 1 mm)

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Fig. 2

Schematic of alginate crosslinking process with the presence of calcium cations: (a) schematic of alginate solution being crosslinked in air, (b) schematic of entire alginate capsule being crosslinked in the CaCl2 bath, and (c) a fabricated alginate capsule (only one layer is shown for illustration)

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Fig. 3

Structure of the three-layered coaxial nozzle and simulation results. (a) Schematic of the nozzle assembly. Structure dimensions of (b) the annular channel and (c) the sheath channel. (d) Points selected to evaluate the velocity uniformity in the channels, and typical simulation results of the velocity distribution of (e) the annular flow and (f) the sheath flow at the outlet of the nozzle.

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Fig. 4

Three-layered coaxial nozzle. (a) Schematic of the three-layered coaxial nozzle structure. Velocity field of alginate solution flowing in the (b) annular channel and (c) sheath channel, (d) and (e) assembly of the assembled three-layered coaxial nozzle (scale bar: 4.0 mm) and the view of its nozzle outlets (scale bars: 4.0 mm for (e) and 0.5 mm for the inset), and (f) the inner set (scale bar: 1.0 mm), (g) the middle set (scale bar: 1.0 mm), and (h) the outer set (scale bar: 2.0 mm) of the three-layered coaxial nozzle.

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Fig. 5

Double-layered capsules: (a) schematic and (b) representative alginate capsules (inset: fluorescent image showing different layers; scale bars: 1.0 mm)

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Fig. 6

Effects of flow rates on the dimensions of double-layered capsules. (a) Capsule and core diameters and (b) inner and outer shell layer thicknesses as a function of core flow rate, (c) capsule and core diameters and (d) inner and outer shell layer thicknesses as a function of annular flow rate, and (e) capsule and core diameters and (f) inner and outer shell layer thicknesses as a function of sheath flow rate (with one standard deviation error bars and three samples).

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