Controlling phase distributions in macroporous composite materials through particle-stabilized foams

Langmuir. 2011 Apr 5;27(7):3254-60. doi: 10.1021/la200224k. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


Aqueous foams stabilized by ceramic and thermoplastic polymeric particles provide a general method for producing novel porous materials because their extraordinary stability against disproportionation and drainage allows them to be dried and sintered into solid materials. Here, we report the different microstructures that can be obtained from liquid foams stabilized by binary mixtures of particles when the interfacial energies between the particles and the air-liquid interfaces are manipulated to promote either preferential or competitive self-assembly of the particles at the foam interface. Modification of the interfacial energies was accomplished through surface modification of the particles or by decreasing the surface tension of the aqueous phase. Materials derived from liquid foams stabilized by poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and alumina (Al(2)O(3)) particles are investigated. However, as is shown, the method can be extended to other polymeric and ceramic particles and provides the possibility to manufacture a wide range of porous composite materials.