Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Bioinspired polymeric woods

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Science Advances  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaat7223
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat7223

Abstract

Woods provide bioinspiration for engineering materials due to their superior mechanical performance. We demonstrate a novel strategy for large-scale fabrication of a family of bioinspired polymeric woods with similar polyphenol matrix materials, wood-like cellular microstructures, and outstanding comprehensive performance by a self-assembly and thermocuring process of traditional resins. In contrast to natural woods, polymeric woods demonstrate comparable mechanical properties (a compressive yield strength of up to 45 MPa), preferable corrosion resistance to acid with no decrease in mechanical properties, and much better thermal insulation (as low as ~21 mW m−1 K−1) and fire retardancy. These bioinspired polymeric woods even stand out from other engineering materials such as cellular ceramic materials and aerogel-like materials in terms of specific strength and thermal insulation properties. The present strategy provides a new possibility for mass production of a series of high-performance biomimetic engineering materials with hierarchical cellular microstructures and remarkable multifunctionality.

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