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Effect of the porosity and microstructure on the mechanical properties of organic xerogels

Abstract : The synthesis of resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF) xerogels is versatile enough to provide materials with custom pore size distributions in the meso/macroporous range. Specifically, seven xerogels were synthesised by changing the pH of the same RF solution, from pH 3 to pH 6. The resulting materials presented meso/macropore size distributions with average pore sizes from <5 to 510 nm, as determined by Hg intrusion and N 2 adsorption. Most of the RF xerogels had very similar geometric densities, except for the gels obtained at the two highest pH values, which were more dense. Both flexural and uniaxial compression tests were carried out to determine the dependence of strength and stiffness on the porosity of the xerogels. The results followed a power-law relationship between the mechanical properties and the density of the materials. However, two series of RF xerogels were found to fit such law independently, with the gels obtained at the three most acidic pH values (pH 3-4) showing unexpectedly high compression moduli. Further characterisation of the xerogels microstructure revealed the existence of rod-like microstructures that would bear most loads during the compression tests. These microstructures would act as struts that, once broken, would cause the catastrophic failure (bursting) of the xerogel.
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Contributor : Maria Vanessa Fierro Pastor <>
Submitted on : Sunday, April 25, 2021 - 7:26:24 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 3:30:55 AM


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S. Flores-López, B. Karakashov, L. Ramírez-Montoya, J. Menéndez, V. Fierro, et al.. Effect of the porosity and microstructure on the mechanical properties of organic xerogels. Journal of Materials Science, Springer Verlag, 2021, 56 (17), pp.10312-10325. ⟨10.1007/s10853-021-05882-6⟩. ⟨hal-03207567⟩



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