One-pot preparation of poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene)/silver nanoparticles composite microspheres with tunable porosity and their catalytic degradation of methylene blue in aqueous solution
A series of poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene)/silver nanoparticle (P(St-DVB)/AgNP) composite microspheres with tunable porosity were synthesized by seed swelling polymerization in one pot using linear polystyrene seeds as templates and nanosized organic soluble AgNPs as the silver source. The polymerization of styrene and divinylbenzene took place inside the seed particles and AgNPs were dispersed directly into the mixture of styrene and divinylbenzene during the polymerization. The morphology properties of P(St-DVB)/AgNPs microspheres were characterized by optical microscope, scanning electron microscope (SEM) and nitrogen adsorption/desorption. The influencing parameters on the morphology of the microspheres, including feed ratio of styrene (monomer) and divinylbenzene (crosslinker), addictive amount of AgNPs and the variety of the porogens were systematically investigated. The porosity of the composite microspheres could be tuned from nonporous to mesoporous and to macroporous by control over these parameters. Meanwhile, AgNPs loading dispersity of the composite microspheres was characterized by transmission electron microscope (TEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), SEM and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). TEM, EDS and SEM results demonstrated that the AgNPs had been loaded both inside and on the surface of the microspheres. The sizes of the loaded AgNPs were influenced by the addictive amount of AgNPs and the kinds of porogens used in the polymerization. Moreover, compared to the P(St-DVB) microspheres, the Ag-loading composite microspheres synthesized in this paper exhibited excellent catalytic activity and reusability in the degradation of methylene blue in the presence of NaBH4.