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Xylem-Inspired Polyimide/MXene Aerogels with Radial Lamellar Architectures for Highly Sensitive Strain Detection and Efficient Solar Steam Generation

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posted on 2022-05-18, 13:05 authored by Lei Pu, Haojie Ma, Jiancheng Dong, Chao Zhang, Feili Lai, Guanjie He, Piming Ma, Weifu Dong, Yunpeng Huang, Tianxi Liu
Polyimide aerogels with mechanical robustness, great compressibility, excellent antifatigue properties, and intriguing functionality have captured enormous attention in diverse applications. Here, enlightened by the xylem parenchyma of dicotyledonous stems, a radially architectured polyimide/MXene composite aerogel (RPIMX) with reversible compressibility is developed by combining the interfacial enhancing strategy and radial ice-templating method. The strong interaction between MXene flakes and polymer can glue the MXene to form continuous lamellae, the ice crystals grow preferentially along the radial temperature gradient can effectively constrain the lamellae to create a biomimetic radial lamellar architecture. As a result, the nature-inspired RPIMX composite aerogel with centrosymmetric lamellar structure and oriented channels manifests excellent mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, and water transporting capability along the longitudinal direction, endowing itself with intriguing applications for accurate human motion monitoring and efficient photothermal evaporation. These exciting properties make the biomimetic RPIMX aerogels promising candidates for flexible piezoresistive sensors and photothermal evaporators.

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