Abstract

Sol-gels are found in many different scientific fields and have very broad applications. They are often prepared by the hydrolysis and condensation of alkoxysilanes such as trimethoxysilanes, which are commonly used as precursors in the preparation of silsequioxanes via the sol-gel process. The reaction rates of such reactions are influenced by a wide range of experimental factors such as temperature, pH, catalyst, etc. In this study, we combined multiple in situ spectroscopic techniques to monitor the hydrolysis and partial condensation reactions of methyltrimethoxysilane and phenyltrimethoxysilane. A rich set of kinetics information on intermediate species of the hydrolysis reactions were obtained and used for kinetics modeling. Raman and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy provided the most information about hydrolysis and NMR provided the most information about condensation. A quantitative method based on Raman spectra to quantify the various transient intermediate hydrolysis products was developed using NMR as the primary method, which can be deployed in the field where it is impractical to carry out NMR measurements.

© 2018 The Author(s)

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