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Molecular Design of Low-Density Multifunctional Hybrid Materials

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Technical Report,01 Apr 2012,31 Oct 2016

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Stanford University Stanford United States

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Low-density hybrid materials, which contain organic and inorganic molecular components, can be engineered over a wide range of length scales toexhibit unique combinations of mechanical, thermal, and optical properties desirable for use in mechanically-robust, multifunctional aerospaceapplications. In this AFOSR program, we have investigated the effects of molecular confinement in low-density hybrids which provides newopportunities to tailor properties. Our research focuses on the smallest molecular length scales of this confinement, where new mechanisms ofstrengthening and toughening exist that are not found in traditional composite materials. By focusing on the behavior of molecules confined atlength scales of 1-10 nm, we are able to probe the fundamental limits of strengthening and toughening in nanostructured low-density materials andfind new avenues for innovation. We have also demonstrated the possibility of creating hybrids with confined polyimide molecules and havegathered evidence of both the imidization and cross-linking of the polyimide precursors occurring in the highly confined nanoporous matrix. Thisexciting new direction for our program opens the door to high-temperature, low-density hybrids for next-generation technologies.

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