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Structural and Thermoanalytical Characterization of 3D Porous PDMS Foam Materials: The Effect of Impurities Derived from a Sugar Templating Process

Written by
José Gonzàlez-Rivera, Rossella Iglio, Giuseppe Barillaro, Celia Duce and Maria Rosaria Tinè
Polymers 201810 (6), 616;


Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymers are extensively used in a wide range of research and industrial fields, due to their highly versatile chemical, physical, and biological properties. Besides the different two-dimensional PDMS formulations available, three-dimensional PDMS foams have attracted increased attention. However, as-prepared PDMS foams contain residual unreacted low molecular weight species that need to be removed in order to obtain a standard and chemically stable material for use as a scaffold for different decorating agents. We propose a cleaning procedure for PDMS foams obtained using a sugar templating process, based on the use of two different solvents (hexane and ethanol) as cleaning agents. Thermogravimetry coupled with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (TG-FTIR) for the analysis of the evolved gasses was used to characterize the thermal stability and decomposition pathway of the PDMS foams, before and after the cleaning procedure. The results were compared with those obtained on non-porous PDMS bulk as a reference. Micro-CT microtomography and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses were employed to study the morphology of the PDMS foam. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) revealed a different thermal behaviour and crosslinking pathway between bulk PDMS and porous PDMS foam, which was also influenced by the washing process. This information was not apparent from spectroscopic or morphological studies and it would be very useful for planning the use of such complex and very reactive systems.