Amphiphilic Nanofiber Based Aerogels from Electrospun Biopolymers for Selective Liquid Absorption
Adlhart, Christian (2017). Amphiphilic Nanofiber Based Aerogels from Electrospun Biopolymers for Selective Liquid Absorption. Advanced Materials Interfaces, 4, 12. 1700065(1-7). Peer reviewed.; ; ;
Hierarchically structured and ultralight pullulan/PVA aerogels or sponges were prepared from short electrospun nanofibers using solid templating. The architecture of the aerogel consisted of cell-like pores of 50 to 100 µm interconnected by a network of entangled nanofibers with 2 to 5 µm pores. Such structures allow rapid liquid uptake with high liquid holding capacities at the same time. The amphiphilic nature of the aerogel from the electrospun biopolymer was switched by chemical vapor deposition of silane. This allows the selective separation of liquids based on their different relative dielectric constants, which is of high interest for oil spilled waters and produced water. Furthermore, silylation improved the aerogel’s overall mechanical stability by 18 % while increasing its density by only 5 %. SEM in situ compression studies revealed the importance of the fibrous entanglement and the open-porous architecture for the high bendability and mechanical resilience of the aerogels. Solid templating of short electrospun nanofibers facilitates the design of a fascinating class of ultralight aerogels while prevailing the fibrous character and the versatility of electrospinning.