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Preparation of Dimpled Polystyrene–Silica Colloidal Nanocomposite Particles

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journal contribution
posted on 31.10.2018, 00:00 by Hua Zou, Dandan Miao, Hao Sun, Xia Wang
Preparation of polymer–silica colloidal nanocomposite particles with concave shape is challenging and seldom reported. This paper presents a novel and facile method to prepare dimpled polymer–silica nanocomposite particles with a thin silica shell through the judicious combination of alcoholic dispersion polymerization and the decane evaporation method. Submicrometer-sized polystyrene–silica (PS–SiO2) nanocomposite particles were first prepared by dispersion polymerization of styrene in methanol in the presence of a methanolic silica sol, and then dimpled PS–SiO2 particles were prepared by heating the near-spherical PS–SiO2 particles dispersed in methanol/water media in the presence of decane and subsequent cooling. The effects of different heat treatment parameters, such as methanol/water ratio, stirring temperature, and stirring rate on the formation of the nanocomposite particles were investigated. Optimization of the heating conditions allowed ∼100% of dimpled particles to be achieved with one dimple on each particle. Moreover, calcination of the dimpled PS–SiO2 nanocomposite particles led to the formation of hollow dimpled particles with a thin silica shell. This method is expected to enrich the shapes of polymer–silica nanocomposite particles.