Silsesquioxane-based networks are an important class of materials that have many applications where high thermal/oxidative stability and porosity are needed simultaneously. However, there is a great desire to be able to design these materials for specialized applications in environmental remediation and medicine. To do so requires a simple synthesis method to make materials with expanded functionalities. In this article, we explore the synthesis of R-silsesquioxane-based porous networks by fluoride catalysis containing methyl, phenyl and vinyl corners (R-Si(OEt)) combined with four different bis-triethoxysilyl cross-linkers (ethyl, ethylene, acetylene and hexyl). Synthesized materials were then analyzed for their porosity, surface area, thermal stability and general structure. We found that when a specified cage corner (i.e., methyl) is compared across all cross-linkers in two different solvent systems (dichloromethane and acetonitrile), pore size distributions are consistent with cross-linker length, pore sizes tended to be larger and π-bond-containing cross-linkers reduced overall microporosity. Changing to larger cage corners for each of the cross-linkers tended to show decreases in overall surface area, except when both corners and cross-linkers contained π-bonds. These studies will enable further understanding of post-synthesis modifiable silsesquioxane networks.
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Hu, Nai-Hsuan and Furgal, Joseph C., "R-Silsesquioxane-Based Network Polymers by Fluoride Catalyzed Synthesis: An Investigation of Cross-Linker Structure and Its Influence on Porosity" (2020). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 188.