A vital issue for the manufacture of multifunctional thin films is to synthesize polymer/ceramic hybrid particles. Silicon dioxide (SiO2)/polymer composite particles were synthesized through dispersion copolymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) in the presence of SiO2 bullet-like particles, using a “grafting-through” approach. The SiO2 particles were previously modified with the silane-coupling agent 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (MPTS). Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy analyses confirmed the formation of particles with a rough surface and flower-like morphology. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and energy-dispersive X-ray investigations indicated that a nucleation and aggregation process of the growing copolymer MPTS/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) occurred on the surface of the modified SiO2 particles. As a result, the SiO2 core became embedded in a PMMA shell. The influence of MPTS and the concentration of polyvinylpyrrolidone as a steric stabilizer on the flower-like morphology was demonstrated. Dispersion polymerizations have been proven to be simple and effective ways to synthesize composite particles with a high surface area. By using homogeneous systems (i.e., the monomer was soluble in the reaction solvent), no emulsification process was required, and copious amounts of well-dispersed particles were produced. These characteristics open many application possibilities for the use of the synthesized particles in functional coatings and optical devices, for mechanical reinforcement in polymeric materials, and as biomaterials.
Journal of Materials Science – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2018
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