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Geopolymer with Hierarchically Meso-/Macroporous Structures from Reactive Emulsion Templating

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Abstract

We present a simple synthetic route to hierarchically porous geopolymers using triglyceride oil for a reactive emulsion template. In the new synthetic method, highly alkaline geopolymer resin was first mixed with canola oil to form a homogeneous viscous emulsion which was then cured at 60°C to give a hard monolithic material. During the process, the oil in the alkaline emulsion undergoes a saponification reaction to be decomposed to water-soluble soap and glycerol molecules which were then extracted with hot water to finally yield porous geopolymers. Nitrogen adsorption studies indicated the presence of mesopores, whereas the SEM studies revealed that the mesoporous geopolymer matrix are dotted with spherical macropores (10–50 μm) which are due to oil droplet template in the emulsion. Various synthetic parameters including the precursor compositions were examined to control the porosity. BET surface area and BJH pore volume of the materials were up to 124 m2/g and 0.7 cm3/g, respectively, and the total pore volumes up to 2.1 cm3/g from pycnometry.

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