Nanoporous thermosetting polymers

Vijay I. Raman, Giuseppe R. Palmese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Potential applications of nanoporous thermosetting polymers include polyelectrolytes in fuel cells, separation membranes, adsorption media, and sensors. Design of nanoporous polymers for such applications entails controlling permeability by tailoring pore size, structure, and interface chemistry. Nanoporous thermosetting polymers are often synthesized via free radical mechanisms using solvents that phase separate during polymerization. In this work, a novel technique for the synthesis of nanoporous thermosets is presented that is based on the reactive encapsulation of an inert solvent using step-growth cross-linking polymerization without micro/macroscopic phase separation. The criteria for selecting such a monomer-polymer-solvent system are discussed based on FTIR analysis, observed micro/macroscopic phase separation, and thermodynamics of swelling. Investigation of resulting network pore structures by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and small-angle X-ray scattering following extraction and supercritical drying using carbon dioxide showed that nanoporous polymeric materials with pore sizes ranging from 1 to 50 nm can be synthesized by varying the solvent content. The differences in the porous morphology of these materials compared to more common free radically polymerized analogues that exhibit phase separation were evident from SEM imaging. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the chemical activity of the nanoporous materials obtained by our method could be tailored by grafting appropriate functional groups at the pore interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1539-1546
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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