Synthesis of polystyrene/polysilsesquioxane core/shell composite particles via emulsion polymerization in the existence of poly(γ-methacryloxypropyl trimethoxysilane) sol.

Research paper by Shenglin S Yang, Chunfeng C Song, Teng T Qiu, Longhai L Guo, Xiaoyu X Li

Indexed on: 13 Dec '12Published on: 13 Dec '12Published in: Langmuir


Here, we synthesized the polystyrene/polysilsesquioxane (PS/PSQ) core/shell latex particles via emulsion polymerization, which behave as an amusing morphology. First, the nanosized PSQ particles were prepared by the hydrolysis-condensation reaction of γ-methacryloxypropyl trimethoxysilane (MPTS) in ethanol medium. Subsequently, the as-obtained methacryloxypropylene functionalized PSQ (PMPTS) sol was directly added into the emulsion system of styrene (St) monomer, and PS/PSQ composite particles with core/shell structure were obtained through emulsion polymerization. We found that the structure of the composite particles can be affected by the synthesis parameters such as reaction time, content of PMPTS added in the reaction, amount of coemulsifier, and the pH value of emulsion system, which were systemically explored by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) in this work. These results indicate that the PMPTS particles in the size of about 5 nm could first absorb onto the surface of PS latex particles so as to assemble in a strawberry-like morphology. The further coalescence among the PMPTS particles would result in a continuous PMPTS shell around the PS core. Moreover, the hollow PSQ capsules were prepared after extraction of the PS core by organic solvent, further confirming the core/shell structure of the as-synthesized PS/PMPTS particles. Meanwhile, we also explored the application of the PS/PSQ core/shell particles as a new kind of Pickering emulsifier in the emulsion polymerization of St, and composite particles with complex patchy morphologies have been obtained finally under different ratios of styrene monomer to PS/PMPTS colloidal emulsifier.