Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Mechanically Strong, Flexible Polyimide Aerogels Cross-Linked with Aromatic Triamine

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


Polyimide gels are produced by cross-linking anhydride capped polyamic acid oligomers with aromatic triamine in solution and chemically imidizing. The gels are then supercritically dried to form nanoporous polyimide aerogels with densities as low as 0.14 g/cm(3) and surface areas as high as 512 m(2)/g. To understand the effect of the polyimide backbone on properties, aerogels from several combinations of diamine and dianhydride, and formulated oligomer chain length are examined. Formulations made from 2,2'-dimethylbenzidine as the diamine shrink the least but have among the highest compressive modulus. Formulations made using 4,4'-oxydianiline or 2,2'dimethylbenzidine can be fabricated into continuous thin films using a roll to roll casting process. The films are flexible enough to be rolled or folded back on themselves and recover completely without cracking or flaking, and have tensile strengths of 4-9 MPa. Finally, the highest onset of decomposition (above 600 °C) of the polyimide aerogels was obtained using p-phenylene diamine as the backbone diamine with either dianhydride studied. All of the aerogels are suitable candidates for high-temperature insulation with glass transition temperatures ranging from 270-340 °C and onsets of decomposition from 460-610 °C.

Publication Title

American Chemical Society





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