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Monolithic Polymeric Aerogels with VOCs Sorbent Nanoporous Crystalline and Water Sorbent Amorphous Phases

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journal contribution
posted on 21.01.2015, 00:00 by Vincenzo Venditto, Marina Pellegrino, Rosa Califano, Gaetano Guerra, Christophe Daniel, Luigi Ambrosio, Anna Borriello
Monolithic syndiotactic polystyrene (s-PS) aerogels, formed by highly crystalline nanofibrils with a hydrophobic nanoporous-crystalline phase and a hydrophilic amorphous phase have been prepared and characterized. These aerogels, with a high degree of sulfonation of the amorphous phase and nearly negligible sulfonation of the crystalline phase, are obtained by treating physical gels exhibiting δ-clathrate form. With respect to unsulfonated nanoporous-crystalline polymeric aerogels, these new selectively sulfonated aerogels present the great advantage of a high water diffusivity and water uptake up to 600 wt %. This water uptake increases greatly the sorption kinetics of organic pollutants by the hydrophobic nanopores of the crystalline phase. For instance, for aerogels with a sulfonation of 10%, the diffusivity of a volatile organic compound (1,2-dichloroethane, DCE) from 10 ppm aqueous solution is more than 3 orders of magnitude higher than that for the unsulfonated aerogel and is very close to the DCE diffusivity in water.