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Mechanical Properties of Ultralow Density Graphene Oxide/Polydimethylsiloxane Foams

  • Cristiano F. Woellner (a1) (a2), Peter S. Owuor (a3), Tong Li (a2), Soumya Vinod (a3), Sehmus Ozden (a2), Suppanat Kosolwattana (a3), Sanjit Bhowmick (a4), Luong X. Duy (a3), Rodrigo V. Salvatierra (a3), Bingqing Wei (a5), Syed A. S. Amanulla (a4), James M. Tour (a3), Robert Vajtai (a3), Jun Lou (a3), Douglas S. Galvão (a1) (a2), Chandra S. Tiwary (a3) and Pulickel. M. Ajayan (a3)...

Abstract

Low-density, highly porous graphene/graphene oxide (GO) based-foams have shown high performance in energy absorption applications, even under high compressive deformations. In general, foams are very effective as energy dissipative materials and have been widely used in many areas such as automotive, aerospace and biomedical industries. In the case of graphene-based foams, the good mechanical properties are mainly attributed to the intrinsic graphene and/or GO electronic and mechanical properties. Despite the attractive physical properties of graphene/GO based-foams, their structural and thermal stabilities are still a problem for some applications. For instance, they are easily degraded when placed in flowing solutions, either by the collapsing of their layers or just by structural disintegration into small pieces. Recently, a new and scalable synthetic approach to produce low-density 3D macroscopic GO structure interconnected with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymeric chains (pGO) was proposed. A controlled amount of PDMS is infused into the freeze-dried foam resulting into a very rigid structure with improved mechanical properties, such as tensile plasticity and toughness. The PDMS wets the graphene oxide sheets and acts like a glue bonding PDMS and GO sheets. In order to obtain further insights on mechanisms behind the enhanced mechanical pGO response we carried out fully atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Based on MD results, we build up a structural model that can explain the experimentally observed mechanical behavior.

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