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Hierarchical polymerized high internal phase emulsions synthesized from surfactant-stabilized emulsion templates

, : Hierarchical polymerized high internal phase emulsions synthesized from surfactant-stabilized emulsion templates. Langmuir 29(20): 5952-5961

In building construction, structural elements, such as lattice girders, are positioned specifically to support the mainframe of a building. This arrangement provides additional structural hierarchy, facilitating the transfer of load to its foundation while keeping the building weight down. We applied the same concept when synthesizing hierarchical open-celled macroporous polymers from high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) templates stabilized by varying concentrations of a polymeric non-ionic surfactant from 0.75 to 20 w/vol %. These hierarchical poly(merized)HIPEs have multimodally distributed pores, which are efficiently arranged to enhance the load transfer mechanism in the polymer foam. As a result, hierarchical polyHIPEs produced from HIPEs stabilized by 5 vol % surfactant showed a 93% improvement in Young's moduli compared to conventional polyHIPEs produced from HIPEs stabilized by 20 vol % of surfactant with the same porosity of 84%. The finite element method (FEM) was used to determine the effect of pore hierarchy on the mechanical performance of porous polymers under small periodic compressions. Results from the FEM showed a clear improvement in Young's moduli for simulated hierarchical porous geometries. This methodology could be further adapted as a predictive tool to determine the influence of hierarchy on the mechanical properties of a range of porous materials.


PMID: 23617331

DOI: 10.1021/la3047643

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