Poly(styrene-co-methyl methacrylate) (poly(St-co-MMA))/SiO2 nanocomposite particles (NCPs) were prepared through miniemulsion polymerization by using polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (commercial name: Tween-20) as the sole surfactant. The number fraction of poly(St-co-MMA)/SiO2 NCPs in the as-synthesized emulsion could exceed 90% in some well-designed systems, indicative of high efficiency of poly(St-co-MMA)/SiO2 NCP formation. Each poly(St-co-MMA)/SiO2 NCP contained many SiO2 NPs, thus exhibiting a high composite efficiency between the poly(St-co-MMA) and SiO2 NPs. The mechanistic investigation indicated that the enhanced efficiency of the poly(St-co-MMA)/SiO2 NCP formation is due to the improved homogeneity in the distribution of SiO2 among the monomer droplets and the effectively suppressed nucleation of plain monomer droplets through controlled coalescence of the monomer droplets with the latex particles.

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Colloid and Polymer Science

pp 1–10