Scientists from various different fields use organo-trialkoxysilanes and tetraalkoxysilanes in a number of applications. The silica-based materials are sometimes synthesized without a good understanding of the underlying reaction kinetics. This literature review attempts to be a comprehensive and more technical article in which the kinetics of alkoxysilanes polymerization are discussed. The kinetics of polymerization are controlled by primary factors, such as catalysts, water/silane ratio, pH, and organo-functional groups, while secondary factors, such as temperature, solvent, ionic strength, leaving group, and silane concentration, also have an influence on the reaction rates. Experiments to find correlations between these factors and reaction rates are restricted to certain conditions and most of them disregard the properties of the solvent. In this review, polymerization kinetics are discussed in the first two sections, with the first section covering early stage reactions when the reaction medium is homogenous, and the second section covering when phase separation occurs and the reaction medium becomes heterogeneous. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and other techniques are discussed in the third section. The last section summarizes the study of reaction mechanisms by using ab initio and Density Functional Theory (DFT) methods alone, and in combination with molecular dynamics (MD) or Monte Carlo (MC) methods.
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