Impregnation and characterization of curcumin into poly (methyl methacrylate) resourcing to supercritical technology

  • Miguel Luís Meneses Antunes Ferreira da Silva (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present work focused on developing a novel approach that could incorporate curcumin into polymers resourcing to supercritical technology. The polymer chosen was PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate). Impregnation was successful, hence revealing that carbon dioxide at its supercritical state can partially solubilize Curcumin, and such data at the time of this research (October 2015) couldn´t be reliably found in literature. The optimal setup inside the supercritical reactor comprised vials containing two different types of PMMA and the additive curcumin in a separate vial. The processing parameters to attain an homogeneous sample were at 150 Bar, 60 º Celsius and at 500 rpm, for 72 hours. Both the PMMA and the Curcumin vials had magnetic stirrers inside them to ensure that the additive impregnation could occur in a homogeneous way, and that the polymer could have a more stable and predictable plasticization. FTIR data revealed that the PMMA integrity is maintained, and curcumin apparently is also unaffected after supercritical processing, however detection of curcumin within PMMA matrix couldn’t be verified at such low impregnation yields through infrared spectroscopy. XRD data showed that curcumin crystallinity is maintained before and after supercritical processing. HPLC results reveal that the partial solubility of curcumin within supercritical CO2 allowed the impregnation of the additive in PMMA, although the amounts were very small. Curcumin amounts within the optimal samples ranged from [0,5 – 2,42 mgcurc/gmatrix]. The results shown in this investigation reinforce that Supercritical technology using CO2 as its supercritical solvent can be a powerful tool in creating nanoformulations comprising Curcumin, or any other compound soluble in it for drug-delivery applications, opening another possibility in the creation of nanoformulations systems comprising Curcumin, subject that has been a target of study for over a decade now.
Date of Award23 Mar 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAna M. Lopez Periago (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Engenharia Biomédica

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