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Issue 7, 2014
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A compressible mesoporous SiO2 sponge supported by a carbon nanotube network

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Abstract

Applications of mesoporous silica (m-SiO2) have suffered from its fragility (monolithic m-SiO2 easily collapses under compression) and limited internal molecular exchange through small channels. Previously reported hierarchical porous m-SiO2 structures containing interconnected macropores could improve adsorption properties, but they were still intrinsically fragile without sufficient mechanical strength to sustain deformation. Here, we embed a three-dimensional carbon nanotube (CNT) skeleton into m-SiO2 to fabricate bulk, robust sponges that can be compressed to large strains (60% volume reduction) repeatedly in both air and water. This is done by directly casting a uniform m-SiO2 layer with tunable thickness onto the surface of CNTs while maintaining the original network and open porous structure, resulting in a core–shell CNT@m-SiO2 hybrid sponge. By pumping fluid through the CNT@m-SiO2 sponges under cyclic compression, the adsorption rate and efficiency of dye molecules can be significantly enhanced due to the mesoporous coating on CNTs and enhanced fluid exchange throughout internal pores. The CNT@m-SiO2 sponges may be used as robust and flexible adsorption media, and chemical and biological sensors with high performance.

Graphical abstract: A compressible mesoporous SiO2 sponge supported by a carbon nanotube network

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Nov 2013, accepted on 29 Dec 2013 and first published on 08 Jan 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3NR05931F
Citation: Nanoscale, 2014,6, 3585-3592
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    A compressible mesoporous SiO2 sponge supported by a carbon nanotube network

    Y. Yang, E. Shi, P. Li, D. Wu, S. Wu, Y. Shang, W. Xu, A. Cao and Q. Yuan, Nanoscale, 2014, 6, 3585
    DOI: 10.1039/C3NR05931F

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