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RAFT polymerization of MMA in channels of different mesoporous materials

Tao Xue, Yan Wei, Caili Yu, Zhongqun Zhou, and Faai Zhang

College of Materials Science and Engineering, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin, China



Received: 21 October 2022  Accepted: 14 February 2023


A series of mesoporous silica (MS) materials, including rod-like and spherical SBA-15, spherical MCM-41, and MCM-48, was successfully synthesized and modified by silane coupling agent γ-aminopropyltriethoxysilane. The modified MS was utilized as a microreactor for solution reversible addition–fragmentation transfer (RAFT) polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) using xanthate as a chain transfer agent and azodiisobutyronitrile as an initiator. Notably, modified MS had a low specific surface area and pore volume while maintaining the original morphological structure. Given to the confinement effects, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) prepared from internal mesoporous channels had higher molecular weight and initial thermal decomposition temperature than those from conventional RAFT polymerization. Moreover, PMMA obtained from spherical SBA-15 and modified MCM-48 exhibited the highest molecular weight (Mn = 8.78 × 104 and Mn = 7.43 × 104, respectively). This work provided a novel approach in designing a polymer microstructure for a more comprehensive application, such as in drug release.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Mesoporous materials; RAFT polymerization; Confined space; Microreactor

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-02734-2


Chemical Papers 77 (7) 3713–3726 (2023)

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