Controlled pore formation in organotrialkoxysilane-derived hybrids: from aerogels to hierarchically porous monoliths

Chem Soc Rev. 2011 Feb;40(2):754-70. doi: 10.1039/c0cs00068j. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Porous polysilsesquioxane gels derived from sol-gel systems based on trifunctional silanes are reviewed. Although it is well known that trifunctional silanes possess inherent difficulties in forming homogeneous gels, increasing attention is being paid on these precursors and resultant porous polysilsesquioxanes because of hydrophobicity, functionality, and versatile mechanical properties. Much effort has been made to overcome the difficulties for homogeneous gelation, and a number of excellent porous materials with various pore properties have been explored. In this critical review, we put special emphasis on the formation of a well-defined macroporous structure by making use of phase separation, which in turn is a serious problem in obtaining homogeneous gels though. Porous polysilsesquioxane monoliths with the hierarchical structure and transparent aerogels with high mechanical durability are particularly highlighted (169 references).