Dr Yuan Lin of the Department of Mechanical Engineering had worked on the research for the topic “Ultrastrong and multifunctional aerogels with hyperconnective network of composite polymeric nanofibers”. The research has beenis recently published by Nature Communications on July 22, 2022.
Details of the publication:
Ultrastrong and multifunctional aerogels with hyperconnective network of composite polymeric nanofibers
Huimin He, Xi Wei, Bin Yang, Hongzhen Liu, Mingze Sun, Yanran Li, Aixin Yan, Chuyang Y. Tang, Yuan Lin & Lizhi Xu, Article in Nature Communications, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-31957-2#Bib1
Three-dimensional (3D) microfibrillar network represents an important structural design for various natural tissues and synthetic aerogels. Despite extensive efforts, achieving high mechanical properties for synthetic 3D microfibrillar networks remains challenging. Here, we report ultrastrong polymeric aerogels involving self-assembled 3D networks of aramid nanofiber composites. The interactions between the nanoscale constituents lead to assembled networks with high nodal connectivity and strong crosslinking between fibrils. As revealed by theoretical simulations of 3D networks, these features at fibrillar joints may lead to an enhancement of macroscopic mechanical properties by orders of magnitude even with a constant level of solid content. Indeed, the polymeric aerogels achieved both high specific tensile modulus of ~625.3 MPa cm3 g−1 and fracture energy of ~4700 J m−2, which are advantageous for diverse structural applications. Furthermore, their simple processing techniques allow fabrication into various functional devices, such as wearable electronics, thermal stealth, and filtration membranes. The mechanistic insights and manufacturability provided by these robust microfibrillar aerogels may create further opportunities for materials design and technological innovation.