282504 Fabrication of Anisotropic Porous Materials Via Magnetically-Controlled Phase Separation in Sol-Gel Processes

Monday, October 29, 2012: 9:50 AM
Butler East (Westin )
Marco Furlan, Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland and Marco Lattuada, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences , Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Marly, Switzerland

Sol-gel accompanied by phase separation is an established method for the preparation of porous silica monoliths with well-defined macroporosity, which find applications in chromatography and catalysis. In this work, we demonstrate how the addition of (superpara)magnetic nanocolloids as templates to a system undergoing a sol-gel transition with phase separation leads to the creation of monoliths with a strongly anisotropic structure. It is known that magnetic nanocolloids respond to the application of an external magnetic field by self-assembling into columnar structures. The application of a magnetic field during the chemically-driven spinodal decomposition induced by the sol-gel transition allows one to break the symmetry of the system and promote the growth of elongated needle-like silica domains incorporating the magnetic nanocolloids, aligned in the direction of the field. It is found that this microstructure imparts a strong mechanical anisotropy to the materials, with a ratio between the Young's modulus values measured in a direction parallel and perpendicular to the one of the field as high as 150, and an overall smaller average macropores size as compared to isotropic monoliths. The microstructure and properties of the porous monoliths can be further controlled by changing both the system composition and the strength of the applied magnetic field. Additionally, more complex structures can be prepared by non-uniform fields, such as magnetic field gradients, rotating fields or alternating fields. Our monoliths represent the first example of materials prepared by magnetically controlling a phase transition occurring via spinodal decomposition.


Furlan M. and Lattuada M., Chem. Mater. 2012, submitted

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See more of this Session: Advances In the Synthesis of Porous Materials
See more of this Group/Topical: Materials Engineering and Sciences Division