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High porosity polyethylene aerogels

By Christophe Daniel, Simona Longo and Gaetano Guerra


Monolithic aerogels of high molecular weight polyethylene (Mw= 3x106- 6x106 g/mol) have been prepared by solvent extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide from thermoreversible gels prepared in decalin. These low density and highly porous aerogels present an apparent porosity up to 90%. The aerogel morphology observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is characterized by spherulitic structures being interconnected by fibers. X-ray diffraction experiments show that PE aerogels are highly crystalline with a degree of crystallinity of c.a. 80% and PE chains being packed into the typical orthorombic unit cell. Combined SEM and N2 sorption investigations show that PE aerogels are essentially macroporous with a small amount of mesopores. The oil-sorption performance of polyethylene aerogels has been also evaluated in this study in order to assess a possible use of these materials for oil spillage recovery and results show that aerogel macropores allow a very fast sorption kinetics with a 100% oil weight uptake obtained in less than 1 minute

Topics: polyethylene, thermoreversible gels, aerogels, supercritical carbon dioxide, oil spillage recovery, Polymers and polymer manufacture, TP1080-1185
Publisher: Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute
Year: 2015
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