A new kind of asymmetric organic–inorganic porous structure has been proposed. Asymmetric lattices of polymer grafted silica nanoparticles were manufactured by casting and phase inversion in water. Silica nanoparticles were first functionalized with 3-(dimethylethoxysilyl)propyl-2-bromoisobutyrate, followed by grafting of poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) segments, performed by atom-transfer radical polymerization. Mechanically stable self-standing films were prepared by casting a dispersion of functionalized nanoparticles in different solvents and immersion in water. The resulting asymmetrically porous morphology and nanoparticle assembly was characterized by scanning electron and atomic force microscopy. The PMMA functionalized SiO2 hybrid material in acetone or acetone/dioxane led to the best-assembled structures. Porous asymmetric membranes were prepared by adding free PMMA and PMMA terminated with hydrophilic hydroxyl group. Nitrogen flow of 2800 L m−2 h−1 was measured at 1.3 bar demonstrating the porosity and potential application for membrane technology.
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Research reported in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
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Munirasu, S., Nunes, S.P. Porous asymmetric SiO2-g-PMMA nanoparticles produced by phase inversion. J Mater Sci 49, 7399–7407 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-014-8434-6
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