Inorganic/organic hybrid polymers
The aims of this project were to synthesise and characterise a range of inorganic/organic hybrid polymers containing pendant vinyl groups and to study their uses as possible fire retardants. The work consisted of several parallel strands: the synthesis of organically modified silicas; the preparation of vinyl containing silsesquioxanes based on the hydrolysis of cyclohexyltrichlorosilane or propylmethacrylatepolysiloxane; the synthesis of latexes by co-polymerisation of either N-Isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) or styrene with vinyltrimethoxysilane and the intercalation of styrene or NIPAM into montmorillonite. All samples were characterised using a range of instrumental techniques including infrared spectroscopy (IR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), elemental analysis, thermal analysis, surface area analysis and electrokinetic analysis. Vinyl modified silicas having large surface areas (about 400m2g-1) were successfully obtained. On calcining at 540°C silicas having surface area in excess of 1000m2g-1 were formed. Both the original organically modified silica and a sample after calcining were incorporated into poly(methylmethacrylate) and these samples were compared with pure poly(methymethacrylate) in a cone calorimeter to study their thermal properties. No significant enhancement to the thermal stability of the polymers was observed when the silica was incorporated. Analysis of the co-polymer latexes were inconclusive, in the case of the products obtained from NIPAM but particles having a narrow size distribution were obtained using styrene. There was no apparent trend in the value of the zeta potential with composition. Analysis of the intercalation of monomers into clays and the synthesis of silsesquioxanes were inconclusive.