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Chin. Phys. B, 2023, Vol. 32(3): 038103    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/acb912

Reconstruction and functionalization of aerogels by controlling mesoscopic nucleation to greatly enhance macroscopic performance

Chen-Lu Jiao(焦晨璐)1,2, Guang-Wei Shao(邵光伟)3, Yu-Yue Chen(陈宇岳)2, and Xiang-Yang Liu(刘向阳)1,†
1 College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Shenzhen Research Institute of Xiamen University, Xiamen University, Shenzhen/Xiamen 361005, China;
2 College of Textile and Clothing Engineering, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China;
3 Engineering Research Center of Technical Textiles, Ministry of Education, College of Textiles, Donghua University, Shanghai 201620, China
Abstract  This work presents a strategy for the mesoscopic engineering of hierarchically structured sodium alginate (SA) aerogels to enhance the macroscopic performance. The strategy was implemented by meso-functionalizing and reorganizing SA aerogels via controlled heterogeneous nucleation, in which microcrystalline cellulose-manganese dioxide (MCC-MnO2) nano-crystallites worked as template. Due to the short rod-like structure and abundant hydroxyl groups of MCC-MnO2, the organized mesostructure of SA aerogels was reconstructed during the assembly of SA molecule chains, which gave rise to a significant enhancement in macroscopic performance of SA areogels. For instance, the functionalized and reconstructed MCC-MnO2/SA aerogels acquired a more than 70% increase in mechanical strength with an excellent deformation recovery. Furthermore, an almost double enhancement of removal capacity for metal ions (i.e., Cu2+ and Pb2+) and organic dyes (i.e., congo red and methylene blue) was obtained for MnO2/SA aerogels, with an 87% repossession of the pollutants removal performance after 5 operation cycles.
Keywords:  mesoscopic reconstruction      aerogel      sodium alginate      microcrystalline cellulose      MnO2 nanoparticles  
Received:  13 January 2023      Revised:  28 January 2023      Accepted manuscript online:  06 February 2023
PACS:  81.10.Aj (Theory and models of crystal growth; physics and chemistry of crystal growth, crystal morphology, and orientation)  
  81.20.Rg (Aerosols in materials synthesis and processing)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 12074322), Shenzhen Science and Technology Plan Project (Grant No. JCYJ20180504170208402), Science and Technology Project of Xiamen City (Grant No. 3502Z20183012), Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China (Grant No. 2018B030331001).
Corresponding Authors:  Xiang-Yang Liu     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Chen-Lu Jiao(焦晨璐), Guang-Wei Shao(邵光伟), Yu-Yue Chen(陈宇岳), and Xiang-Yang Liu(刘向阳) Reconstruction and functionalization of aerogels by controlling mesoscopic nucleation to greatly enhance macroscopic performance 2023 Chin. Phys. B 32 038103

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