Fluorinated silica gels at various fluorine content were prepared via sol-gel by hydrolysis of 3,3,3-trifluoropropyltrimethoxysilane
and tetraethoxysilane mixtures. The gels, of nominal stoichiometry Si(CH2CH2CF3)XO(2-X/2)(X=0.1-1), were characterized by FT-IR, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and N2 adsorption analysis. The thermal stability of the fluorinated samples was investigated by coupling thermogravimetric measurements
with mass spectrometric and gas chromatographic analyses of the evolved gaseous species. The chemical reactions occurring
in the gel matrices during heating were siloxane chain rearrangements involving condensation between residual hydroxyl and
ethoxyl groups in the 100-350C temperature range, whereas the thermal decomposition of the fluoroalkyl groups were observed
at higher temperatures (450-600C). The release of the fluoroalkyl moieties also involved C-F/Si-O bond exchanges inside the
siloxane chains, with gas-phase evolution of different fluorinated silicon units.