Lightweight, Thermally Insulating, Fire-Proof Graphite-Cellulose Foam

CJ Chen and YB Zhou and WQ Xie and TT Meng and XP Zhao and ZQ Pang and QY Chen and DP Liu and RL Wang and VA Yang and HL Zhang and H Xie and UH Leiste and WL Fourney and SM He and ZY Cai and ZQ Ma and T Li and LB Hu, ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS (2022).

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202204219

Foam materials are widely used in packaging and buildings for thermal insulation, sound absorption, shock absorption, and other functions. They are dominated by petroleum-based plastics, most of which, however, are not biodegradable nor fire-proofing, leading to severe plastic pollution and safety concerns. Here, a fire-proofing, thermally insulating, recyclable 3D graphite-cellulose nanofiber (G-CNF) foam fabricated from resource-abundant graphite and cellulose is reported. A freeze-drying-free and scalable ionic crosslinking method is developed to fabricate Cu2+ ionic crosslinked G-CNF (Cu-G-CNF) foam with a low energy consumption and cost. Moreover, the direct foam formation strategy enables local foam manufacturing to fulfil the local demand. The ionic crosslinked G-CNF foam demonstrates excellent water stability (the foam can maintain mechanical robustness even in wet state and recover after being dried in air without deformation), fire resistance (41.7 kW m(-2) vs 214.3 kW m(-2) in the peak value of heat release rate) and a low thermal conductivity (0.05 W/(mK)), without compromising the recyclability, degradability, and mechanical performance of the composite foam. The demonstrated 3D G-CNF foam can potentially replace the commercial plastic-based foam materials, representing a sustainable solution against the "white pollution".

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