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The Rediscovery Of POSS: A Molecule Rather Than A Filler

Ignazio Blanco

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The use of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSSs) for making polymer composites has grown exponentially since the last few years of the 20th century. In comparison with the other most commonly used fillers, POSSs possess the advantage of being molecules. Thus, this allows us to combine their nano-sized cage structures, which have dimensions that are similar to those of most polymer segments and produce a particular and exclusive chemical composition. These characteristics linked with their hybrid (inorganic–organic) nature allow researchers to modify POSS according to particular needs or original ideas, before incorporating them into polymers. In this present study, we first start with a brief introduction about the reasons for the rediscovery of these nanoparticles over the last 25 years. Starting from the form of POSS that is most widely used in literature (octaisobutyl POSS), this present study aims to evaluate how the reduction of symmetry through the introduction of organic groups favors their dispersion in polystyrene matrix without compromising their solubility.