Title

Synthesis and Mechanical Characterization of Mechanically Strong, Polyurea-crosslinked, Ordered Mesoporous Silica Aerogels

Abstract

Mechanically strong polymer-crosslinked templated silica aerogel (CTSA) monoliths with ordered tubular mesopores were synthesized through an acid-catalyzed, surfactant-templated sol–gel process followed by covalent crosslinking of the elementary building blocks with polyurea. Specifically, a structure-directing reagent (triblock copolymer, Pluronic P123) was used in combination with variable amounts of a micelle-swelling reagent (1,3,5-trimethylbenzene) to regulate the size, shape, morphology of the elementary building blocks, as well as the pore size distribution of acid-catalyzed silica. the structure was subsequently treated with variable concentrations of a diisocyanate that reacts with surface –OH groups as well as residual gelation water adsorbed on the surface of silica. the developing polymer (polyurea) adheres to the walls of the mesoporous tubes and leaves macropores open. Rather than using a typical supercritical fluid (typically from CO2) drying protocol, the polymer-crosslinked materials of this study are strong enough to withstand stresses imposed by evaporating solvents and were dried from pentane under ambient pressure. the morphostructural properties of CTSAs were characterized before and after compression testing using a battery of methods including SEM, TEM and small-angle X-ray scattering. Mechanical properties were investigated using quasi-static compression tests, tensile, high-strain-rate dynamic tests as well as shear creep measurements. in addition, dynamic mechanical analysis as well as heat transfer tests was conducted. the Young’s modulus was found to be about 800 MPa while the specific energy absorption was as high as 123 J/g, making this material a prime candidate for ballistic protection. Graphical abstract: Mechanically strong polymer-crosslinked templated silica aerogel (CTSA) monoliths with ordered tubular mesopores were synthesized through an acid-catalyzed, surfactant-templated sol–gel process followed by covalent crosslinking of the elementary building blocks with polyurea, leaving macropores open. Using pentane under ambient pressure drying protocol, the CTSAs are strong enough to withstand stresses imposed by evaporating solvents. the mechanical and morphostructural properties of CTSAs were characterized using SEM, TEM and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). the Young’s modulus was found to be about 800 MPa while the specific energy absorption was as high as 123 J/g, making this material a prime candidate for energy absorption under impact.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]TEM/SEM images and SAXS of X-MP4-T045-11/94 templated aerogel. (a) TEM images before compression; (b) TEM images after 85 % compressive strain; (c) SAXS data at different strain. (d) SEM images before compression; (e) SEM images after 23 % strain; (f) SEM images after 83 % strain. Insets of (e) and (f) are the compressive stress-strain curves.

Department(s)

Chemistry

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

9280707

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2015 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.


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