Controllable growth of porous structures from co-continuous polymer blend
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Due to their large internal surface area, microporous materials have been widely used in applications where high surface activity is desired. Example applications are extracellular scaffolds for tissue engineering, porous substrates for catalytic reaction, and permeable media for membrane filtration, etc. To realize these potential applications, various techniques such as TIPS (thermal induced phase separation), particle leaching, and SFF (solid freeform fabrication) were proposed and investigated. Despite of being able to generate microporous for specific applications, these available fabrication techniques have limitations on controlling the inner porous structure and the outer geometry in a cost-effective manner. To address these technical challenges, a systematic study focusing on the generation of microporous structures using co-continuous polymer blend was conducted. Under this topic, five subtopics were explored: 1) generation of gradient porous structures; 2) geometrical confining effect in compression molding of co-continuous polymer blend; 3) microporous composite with high nanoparticle loading; 4) micropatterning of porous structure; 5) simulation strategy for kinetics of co-continuous polymer blend phase coarsening process.