Low-density PDMS Foams by Controlled Destabilization of Thixotropic Emulsions
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2022
Martin Timusk, Ines Anett Nigol, Sergei Vlassov, Sven Oras, Triin Kangur, Artis Linarts, Andris Šutka

In the current study we demonstrate a method of preparation of low-density polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) foams from emulsions by using water-based thixotropic fluids as porogens. Aqueous dispersions of synthetic hectorite clay and nanocellulose were used as thixotropic fluids, enabling the preparation of fine emulsions in bulk form with the droplet size down to few tens of microns by simple hand mixing. Contrary to conventional emulsion templating where stabilization of emulsion is required, a strategy was developed for obtaining foams by using controlled destabilization of an emulsion, induced during the curing of the PDMS matrix phase by adding a carefully selected surfactant in optimized concentration. This strategy enables the preparation of bulk PDMS foams with interconnected porosity in a range of density values, fast and deformation-free drying and uniform porous structure with a range of mechanical properties. Clay microplatelet with clearly defined shape and with mass in the nanogram range is retained in spherical pores as the porogen is removed by evaporation. Foams with density down to 0.353 g/cm3 and thermal conductivity of 0.0745 W/m * K were prepared. Elastic modulus of the prepared foams ranged from 0.156 to 0.379 MPa, a reduction of 94.3–86.3% as compared to pure nonporous PDMS.

PDMS foam, Low density, Thermal conductivity, Thixotropy, Emulsion templating, Elastic modulus

Timusk, M., Nigol, I., Vlassov, S., Oras, S., Kangur, T., Linarts, A., Šutka, A. Low-density PDMS Foams by Controlled Destabilization of Thixotropic Emulsions. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2022, Vol. 626, pp.265-275. ISSN 0021-9797. e-ISSN 1095-7103. Available from: doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2022.06.150

Publication language
English (en)
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