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Fabrication of Polyimide Aerogels Cross-Linked by a Cost-Effective Amine-Functionalized Hyperbranched Polysiloxane (NH2–HBPSi)

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journal contribution
posted on 06.08.2020, 22:22 by Tingting Wu, Jie Dong, Kevin De France, Mengmeng Li, Xin Zhao, Qinghua Zhang
Polyimide (PI) aerogels were prepared from anhydride end-capped polyamic acid oligomers cross-linked by a low-cost lab-made amine-functionalized hyperbranched polysiloxane macromer (NH2–HBPSi). NH2–HBPSi was synthesized via the hydrolysis–condensation reaction between phenyltrimethoxysilane, tetraethoxysilane, and γ-aminopropylmethyldiethoxysilane, which are all cheap commercially available silane-coupling agents. To determine the effects of the NH2–HBPSi cross-linker on the formation and properties of aerogels, two different PI oligomers, synthesized from relatively flexible 4,4′-oxidianiline and rigid-rod 2,2′-dimethylbenzidine, were investigated. The resulting PI aerogels showed comparable properties with the triamine cross-linked PI aerogels, such as low densities (0.12 to 0.20 g cm–3), high BET specific surface areas (279 to 460 m2 g–1), low thermal conductivities (29–32 mW m–1 K–1), and excellent mechanical and thermal properties across the range of NH2–HBPSi cross-linker concentrations used (2.5 to 12.5 wt %). Moreover, the thermal insulation, dielectric, and CO2 uptake performances were also investigated, demonstrating the broad range of potential applications for these multifunctional cross-linked PI aerogels. Considering the low-cost and facile synthesis for this NH2–HBPSi macromer cross-linking agent, we anticipate that this work can overcome the drawbacks of expensive conventional PI cross-linkers and offer a simple approach to produce low-cost PI aerogels at scale.