Using butyl methacrylate (BMA) and styrene (St) as monomers and divinylbenzene (DVB) as a crosslinking agent, P(St-BMA) microspheres were prepared by suspension polymerization. Tea tree oil (TTO) microspheres were prepared by adsorbing TTO on P(St-BMA) microspheres. The structure and surface morphology of P(St-BMA) microspheres and TTO microspheres were characterized by Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), optical microscopy, and Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). In doing so, the structural effect of P(St-BMA) microspheres on oil absorption and sustained release properties could be investigated. The results show that the surface of the P(St-BMA) microspheres in the process of TTO microsphere formation changed from initially concave to convex. The TTO microspheres significantly improved the stability of TTO, which was found to completely decompose as the temperature of the TTO increased from about 110 °C to 150 °C. The oil absorption behavior, which was up to 3.85 g/g, could be controlled by adjusting the monomer ratio and the amount of crosslinking agent. Based on Fickian diffusion, the sustained release behavior of TTO microspheres was consistent with the Korsmeyer-Pappas kinetic model. After 13 h of natural release, the anti-bacterial effect of the TTO microspheres was found to be significantly improved compared to TTO.
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