Microcellular sensory polymers prepared from solid sensory polymeric films were tested in an aqueous Hg(II) detection process to analyze their sensory behavior. First, solid acrylic-based polymeric films of 100 µm thickness were obtained via radical copolymerization process. Secondly, dithizone sensoring motifs were anchored in a simple five-step route, obtaining handleable colorimetric sensory films. To create the microporous structure, films were foamed in a ScCO2 batch process, carried out at 350 bar and 60 °C, resulting in homogeneous morphologies with cell sizes around 5 µm. The comparative behavior of the solid and foamed sensory films was tested in the detection of mercury in pure water media at 2.2 pH, resulting in a reduction of the response time (RT) around 25% and limits of detection and quantification (LOD and LOQ) four times lower when using foamed films, due to the increase of the specific surface associated to the microcellular structure.
sensory films microcellular polymer ScCO2 foaming mercury detection