Hybrid particles comprising aggregated fumed silica nanoparticles as the core and hydrophobic polymers existing around the nanoparticles were prepared by ‘grafting from’ polymerization in emulsions. The emulsion polymerization employed cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a cationic surfactant and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) as an anionic surfactant, respectively, to stabilize the emulsion polymerization. The polymerization was initiated by the redox reaction between ceric ion Ce(IV) and the amine groups on the surfaces of aminated fumed silica nanoparticles that were modified by 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane. Infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis demonstrated that both poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and polystyrene (PS) were successfully grafted onto the fumed silica surface. The type of surfactant greatly affected the grafting ratio, monomer-to-polymer conversion, and morphology of the product. When CTAB was used as the surfactant, both the grafting ratio and monomer-to-polymer conversion were lower than when SDS was used, but transmission electron microscopy and light scattering analysis indicated that most of the resultant particles were sub-100 nm hybrid nanoparticles with a non-spherical shape and particles sizes of 75–90 and 57–85 nm for PMMA and PS-grafted fumed silica, respectively. Whereas, when SDS was used as the surfactant, the particles agglomerated to form large irregular clusters or even networks, possibly due to the electrostatic attractions between SDS and Ce(IV) and/or the aminated fumed silica nanoparticles in aqueous solution.
Surfactant Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate PMMA Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization
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