Epoxy-aerogel composites

A lot of our recent work deals with the (bio)polymer reinforcement of silica aerogel, but also the opposite also works. We have recently shown that the addition of 1-3 wt% of silica aerogel doubles the fracture toughness of epoxy. Detailed AFM-IR measurements highlighted the importance of surface roughness and crack deflection in improving toughness [1-2].

https://www.integratedtesting.org/documents/56010/20565576/9+epoxy_update+kryk.jpg/303a4cc4-e3d8-46e9-8232-13dd93b2855b?t=1649104050000
[1] Salimian, Saeed, et al. "Silica aerogel–epoxy nanocomposites: understanding epoxy reinforcement in terms of aerogel surface chemistry and epoxy–silica interface compatibility." ACS Applied Nano Materials 1.8 (2018): 4179-4189. [2] Salimian, Saeed, et al. "Fabrication and evaluation of silica aerogel-epoxy nanocomposites: fracture and toughening mechanisms." Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics 97 (2018): 156-164.