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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Fiber Reinforcement on Clay Aerogel Composites

Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-7202, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Morreale Marco
Materials 2015, 8(8), 5440-5451;
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 2 August 2015 / Accepted: 4 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Composites)
Novel, low density structures which combine biologically-based fibers with clay aerogels are produced in an environmentally benign manner using water as solvent, and no additional processing chemicals. Three different reinforcing fibers, silk, soy silk, and hemp, are evaluated in combination with poly(vinyl alcohol) matrix polymer combined with montmorillonite clay. The mechanical properties of the aerogels are demonstrated to increase with reinforcing fiber length, in each case limited by a critical fiber length, beyond which mechanical properties decline due to maldistribution of filler, and disruption of the aerogel structure. Rather than the classical model for reinforced composite properties, the chemical compatibility of reinforcing fibers with the polymer/clay matrix dominated mechanical performance, along with the tendencies of the fibers to kink under compression. View Full-Text
Keywords: clay; aerogel; poly(vinyl alcohol); fibers; composite; mechanical properties clay; aerogel; poly(vinyl alcohol); fibers; composite; mechanical properties
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MDPI and ACS Style

Finlay, K.A.; Gawryla, M.D.; Schiraldi, D.A. Effects of Fiber Reinforcement on Clay Aerogel Composites. Materials 2015, 8, 5440-5451.

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