Most materials expand when heated, which can lead to thermal stress and even failure. Whereas thermomiotic materials exhibit negative thermal expansion, the creation of materials with near-zero thermal expansion presents an ongoing challenge due to the need to optimize thermal and mechanical properties simultaneously. The present work describes the preparation and properties of polymer–ceramic composites with low thermal expansion. Ceramic scaffolds, prepared by freeze-casting of low-thermal-expansion Al2
, were impregnated with poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA). The resulting composites can have a coefficient of thermal expansion as low as 2 × 10−6
, and hardness values of 4.0 ± 0.3 HV/5 (39 ± 3 MPa) and 16 ± 3 HV/5 (160 ± 30 MPa) parallel and perpendicular to the ice growth, respectively. The higher hardness perpendicular to the ice growth direction indicates that the PMMA is acting to improve the mechanical properties of the composite.
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