To prepare modified silica nanospheres for emulsion polymerization, a new agglomeration-free change of dispersion media has been developed. Nanosized silica spheres were synthesized by the Stöber method and directly modified with a silane coupling agent. To prepare these particles for subsequent polymerization, the dispersion medium was changed in a two-step process from ethanol to water without agglomeration of the particles. The emulsion polymerization leads to hemispherical single-core-structured silica-polystyrene composite particles. The thickness of the polymer shell can be altered by varying the amount of styrene. The developed change of dispersion media provides nonagglomerated modified silica particles for the encapsulation with polystyrene and enables the synthesis of narrowly distributed single-core composite particles. The developed process is a promising approach for the preparation of nanoparticles for subsequent polymerization and can be scaled-up for industrial applications.

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Langmuir. 2018 Jan 9;34(1):376-383.