A facile fabrication of porous fluoro-polymer with excellent mechanical properties based on high internal phase emulsion templating using PLA as co-stabilizer†
The stability of fluoro-high internal phase emulsion (fluoro-HIPE) systems and fluoro-polyHIPEs’ mechanical strength require further improvement to meet the requirements of future applications. In this study, we used polylactic acid (PLA) as a co-stabilizer to improve the stability of the fluoro-polyHIPE. The effects of concentration and molecular weight of PLA on the pores of the fluoro-polyHIPEs were investigated. The addition of PLA produced a porous material with narrower void size distributions, higher specific surface areas and enhanced mechanical properties compared to the fluoro-polyHIPE material without the additive. The resulting fluoro-polyHIPE showed smaller pore sizes (void diameters ranged from 1–3 μm) and an improved hydrophobic nature (contact angle can reach to 148.6°). The crush strength and Young's modulus values can reach 4.42 and 74.07 MPa, respectively, at a PLA addition of 25 wt% (oil phase composition), representing increases of 246% and 650% over fluoro-polyHIPE without PLA addition. The fluoro-poly-HIPE demonstrated excellent mechanical properties compared to many engineering foams, such as melamine, polystyrene, and even graphite foams. Improvements in the performance of porous fluoropolymer materials will be beneficial for many applications, such as chemical adsorption and separation, etc.