To cite this article: Mokri, N. A. et al. (2019). Tailoring particle size and agglomeration state of mesoporous MCM-48 via optimisation of sol-gel silica process. J. Phys. Sci., 30(1), 145–168, https://doi.org/10.21315/jps2019.30.1.11
Mobil Composition of Matter no. 48 (MCM-48) is a promising inorganic particle due to its unique crystal structure and 3-dimensional porous network. Incorporating a discrete amount of nanosized MCM-48 for material development would give significant impact to the material’s performance and mechanical robustness. Thus far, the synthesis of MCM-48 in the nanoscale regime has been achieved via chemical modification techniques. However, they are often not reproducible due to limited understanding of surfactant behaviour. On the other hand, physical modification technique is more stable, thereby can reduce the possibility of producing other undesired mesophase. Nevertheless, this technique has not been adapted for nanosized MCM-48 synthesis. In this work, the physical modification technique was adapted to tailor MCM-48 particle size by varying stirring speed (i.e., 1000 rpm, 3000 rpm and 5000 rpm) and using different types of washing medium. Particle size distribution (PSD) studies showed mean particle size of 250 ± 50 nm. XRD analysis displayed several crystalline peaks indexed to cubic crystal mesophase. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and Brunauer-Emmett Teller (BET) analyses also showed a unique 3D cubic interconnecting porous network with specific surface area of 1030 m2 g–1. It was revealed that the degree of agglomeration increased as relative polarity of alcohol increased, CH3OH > CH3CH2OH. Therefore, particle size and agglomeration state of MCM-48 can be tailored by varying the physical modification techniques while maintaining its intrinsic pore morphology.