Highly porous inorganic-organic hybrid monoliths with mesopores in a macroporous network have been prepared from methyltris(2-hydroxyethoxy)silane (MeGMS) and tetrakis(2-hydroxyethoxy)silane (EGMS) in the presence of an amphiphilic block copolymer. The amount of methyltris(2-hydroxyethoxy)silane (MeGMS) in the gel has been varied from 0 to 100 %. These glycol-modified silanes have the advantage of being water-soluble and thus allowing for a direct templating of liquid-crystalline surfactant mesophases without the presence of a homogenizing organic solvent such as ethanol. The wet gels have been dried by supercritical extraction with carbon dioxide.
In the present work, the sol-gel behaviour of these glycol-modified silanes is discussed especially with a focus on the formation of the meso- and macrostructure. In addition, the influences of the varying ratios of methyltris(2-hydroxyethoxy)silane on the structural features of the gels are investigated by various analytical techniques such as small angle X-ray scattering, nitrogen sorption, and scanning electron microscopy.