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Keywords:

  • nanocomposite;
  • clay;
  • self-assembling;
  • miniemulsion polymerization;
  • hemisphere

Abstract

The synthesis of asymmetric spherical nanoparticles has attracted great interest because their anisotropic structure can be used as unique building blocks for constructing advanced materials. In this article, we report the formation of hemispherical or truncated polystyrene/nanosaponite composite particles via one-pot miniemulsion polymerization. It was found that the morphology of final composite latex particles strongly depends on the size of the nanoclay and its surface properties. Hemisphere or truncated sphere is the dominant morphology if the size of the nanoclay is larger than 100 nm. With the increase of the nanoclay content (up to 30 wt %), the fraction of hemispherical or truncated polystyrene/nanosaponite composite latex particles increased accordingly. The formation of hemispherical particles is possibly attributed to either the asymmetric growth of polymer chains on one side of the hydrophobically modified clay or the mechanical peeling-off of large spherical particles between polymer and saponite. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013