Aggregation of POSS monomers in liquid hexane: A molecular-simulation study

Alberto Striolo*, Clare McCabe, Peter T. Cummings, Elaine R. Chan, Sharon C. Glotzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) are multifunctional molecules that can be employed as building blocks to develop nanocomposite materials whose mechanical properties often improve upon those of traditional polymeric materials. We report here molecular simulation results for the effective potential of mean force between octamethyl POSS monomers and between POSS monomers in which one methyl group has been substituted by a linear alkane chain of nine carbon atoms in liquid normal hexane at 300 and 400 K. The results are discussed and compared to available data for the effective interactions between octamethyl POSS monomers in normal hexadecane. Our results show that the effective short-ranged POSS-POSS attraction is significantly weaker in hexane than it is in hexadecane, perhaps explaining why normal hexane is often the solvent of choice for the preparation of POSS-containing materials. Additionally, we provide results for the radial distribution functions between selected sites in the POSS monomers that can be used both to understand the association between POSS monomers in solution and to parametrize coarse-grained simulation models. Such models will be used to study the formation of POSS-containing supramolecular structures such as lamellae or micelles that are currently not accessible by atomistic simulation and can be compared to experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12248-12256
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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