By inducing phase separation parallel to the sol-gel transition of alkoxy-derived silica systems, gels having both macroporous and mesoporous structures can be obtained. Using poly(acrylamide) (PAAm) as a phase-separation inducer, macro/mesoporous silica gels were synthesized. After solvent exchange by water, the size distribution of mesopores of wet gels was evaluated by thermoporometry using a differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Alternatively, gels were evaporation-dried after solvent exchange by ethanol or water/ethanol, followed by heat-treatment to completely remove volatile and organic components. Characterization of the dried or heat-treated samples was carried out using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and by nitrogen adsorption measurements. Experimental results showed that the interaction between PAAm and silica is not so strong as the case of polymers having poly(oxyethylene) chains. The contribution of the secondary phase separation within the crosslinking silica-rich phase was suggested to be responsible for the mesopore formation in the PAAm-silica system.
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Kawamoto, K., Nakanishi, K. & Hanada, T. Phase Separation in Alkoxy-Derived Silica System Containing Polyacrylamide. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1007, 401 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1007-S04-01