Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen E. Rankin


This dissertation presents studies of the synthetic processes and applications of siloxane-based materials. Kinetic investigations of bridged organoalkoxysilanes that are precursors to organic-inorganic hybrid polysilsesquioxanes are a primary focus. Quick gelation despite extensive cyclization is found during the polymerization of bridged silane precursors except for silanes with certain short bridges. This work is an attempt to characterize and understand some of the distinct features of bridged silanes using experimental characterization, kinetic modeling and simulation. In addition to this, the dissertation shows how the properties of siloxane- materials can be engineered for drug delivery and adsorption.

The phase behavior of polymerizing mixtures is first investigated to identify the solutions that favor kinetic characterization. Microphase separation is found to cause gradual loss of NMR signal for certain initial compositions. Distortionless Enhancement by Polarization Transfer 29Si NMR is employed to identify the products of polymerization of some short-bridged silanes under no signal loss conditions. This technique requires knowing indirect 29Si-1H scalar coupling constants which sometimes cannot be measured due to second-order effects. However, the B3LYP density functional method with 6-31G basis set is found to predict accurate 29Si-1H coupling constants of organoalkoxysilanes and siloxanes. The scalar coupling constants thus estimated are employed to resolve non-trivial coupled NMR spectra and quantitative kinetic modeling is performed using the DEPT Si NMR transients. In order to investigate the role of the organic bridging group, the structural evolution of bridged and non-bridged silanes are compared using Monte Carlo simulations. Kinetic and simulation models suggest that cyclization plays a key role right from the onset of polymerization for bridged silanes even more than in non-bridged silanes. The simulations indicate that the carbosiloxane rings formed from short-bridged precursors slow down but do not prevent gelation.

The tuning of siloxane-based materials for adsorption technologies are also discussed here. In the first example, antioxidant enzyme loading is investigated as a means to reduce oxidative stress generated by silica nanoparticle drug carriers. Materials are engineered for promising enzyme loading and protection from proteolysis. Second, the potential of copper sulfate impregnation to enhance adsorption of ammonia by silica is explored by molecular simulation.



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