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mechanically strong aerogels formed by templated growth of polymer cross- linkers on inorganic nanoparticlesIn the search for materials with better mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, it is becoming evident that oftentimes dispersing ceramic nanoparticles in plastics improves performance. Along these lines, chemical bonding (both covalent and noncovalent) between a filler and a polymer improves their compatibility, and thus enhances certain properties of the polymeric matrix above and beyond what is accomplished by simple doping with the filler. When a similarly sized dopant and matrix are used, elementary building blocks may also have certain distinct advantages (e.g., in catalysis). In this context, researchers at the NASA Glenn Research Center reasoned that in the extreme case, where the dopant and the matrix (e.g., a filler and a polymer) are not only sized similarly, but their relative amounts are comparable, the relative roles of the dopant and matrix can be reversed. Then, if the "filler," or a certain form thereof, possesses desirable properties of its own, such properties could be magnified by cross-linking with a polymer. We at Glenn have identified silica as such a filler in its lowest-density form, namely the silica aerogel.
Document ID
Document Type
Leventis, Nicholas
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Fabrizio, Eve F.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Johnston, Chris
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Meador, Maryann
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2003
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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