Project:

Mineral Plastic Foams

Porous materials via templating routes

Mineral Plastic Foams are non-flammable, mechanically stable, and easy-to-recycle materials, which is why they are ideal candidates as an environmentally friendly alternative to common insulators in buildings. Their continuous phase is made up of a polyacrylic acid (PAA) network whose deprotonated carboxylate groups are physically crosslinked with Ca2+ cations. The crosslinking gives the solid foam its mechanical stability and is also the reason for its non-flammability. The network can be dissolved by adding acid to the system, i.e. it can be recycled. Menold et al. [1, 2] were able to foam aqueous Ca2+/PAA solutions and to solidify the resulting liquid foam, thus providing a “Proof of Concept” for the synthesis of Mineral Plastic Foams. The first objective of our research is to optimise the formulation from which the solid foams are produced. Therefore, the Ca2+/PAA ratio as well as their absolute concentrations are varied. Furthermore, the influence of the surfactant concentration and of different foaming techniques on the mechanical, morphological, and thermal properties is investigated. A second objective of our research is to optimise the solidification of the liquid precursor which includes the deprotonation of PAA with a base and the washing with ethanol. After achieving our first two objectives, we finally want to find a way to upscale the Mineral Plastic Foam production.

Mineral plastic foams
Figure 1: (left) Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) picture of a Mineral Plastic Foam, (middle) photo of a Mineral Plastic Foam, and (right) a photo showing the non-flammability of Mineral Plastic Foams.

 

[1]  Menold P., Cölfen H., Stubenrauch C.; Mineral plastic foams, Materials Horizons 2021, 8, 1222-1229.
[2]  Stubenrauch C., Cölfen H., Menold P.; Materialien: Immer wieder schäumen und lösen, Nachrichten aus der Chemie 2021, 69(5), 44-45.

 

This image shows Lukas Koch
Dr.

Lukas Koch

Postdoctoral Research Associate

This image shows Cosima Stubenrauch
Prof. Dr.

Cosima Stubenrauch

Dean of Faculty

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