Minimizing the Density of Polymer Crosslinked Aerogels
Polymerization of a di-isocyanate with the surface amino groups of a sol-gel derived mesoporous silica network crosslinks the nanoparticles of the silica skeleton, and reinforces the otherwise fragile underlying framework. Systematically adjusting the processing variables effecting density produces aerogels whose macroscopic properties such as stress at failure and modulus could be controlled, and are attributed to changing morphology on the nanometer scale (see figure below). The lowest density crosslinked aerogels (~ 0.036 g/cm3) exhibit a forty-fold increase in strength over the corresponding non-crosslinked framework, and are flexible. Flexibility is a property that aerogels have not previously exhibited, and thus indicates that at very low silica content, the properties of the polymer crosslink begin to dominate those of the rigid silica framework.
L. A. Capadona et al., "Minimizing the Density of Polymer Crosslinked Aerogels," Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, vol. 231, American Chemical Society (ACS), Mar 2006.
231st ACS National Meeting (2006: Mar. 26-30, Atlanta, GA)
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