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An Efficient Strategy for Reinforcing Flexible Ceramic Membranes

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posted on 03.11.2021, 12:05 by Xue Mao, Jie Hong, Yue-Xia Wu, Qing Zhang, Jia Liu, Li Zhao, Hai-Hong Li, Yao-Yu Wang, Kun Zhang
Herein, we present a facile reinforcement method for the large-scale fabrication of highly flexible, mechanically stable, temperature-resistant ceramic lightweight membranes based on the cross-linked assembly of zirconia–silica (ZrO2–SiO2) nanofibrous and montmorillonite (MMT) nanosheets through electrospinning and a subsequent calcination process. The resulting MMT@ZrO2–SiO2 membranes exhibit high flexibility with a bending rigidity of 0.2 cN mm–1, robust mechanical performance with a tensile strength of up to 1.83 MPa, robust fire resistance, and temperature-invariant mechanical stability from −196 to 1000 °C. The thermal superinsulation with a thermal conductivity as low as 0.026 W m–1 K–1 and the improved mechanical strength can be attributed to the cross-linked interfacial interaction between the ZrO2–SiO2 nanofibers and the MMT nanosheets. Additionally, a firefighter uniform with MMT@ZrO2–SiO2 membranes inside features a superior thermal protective property up to the A2 level (combined flame and radiant exposure) and an excellent fire resistance of up to 1000 °C, which is ideal for next-generation firefighter uniform manufacturing.