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Mechanical properties and brittle behavior of silica aerogels

Abstract : Sets of silica gels: aerogels, xerogels and sintered aerogels, have been studied in the objective to understand the mechanical behavior of these highly porous solids.The mechanical behaviour of gels is described in terms of elastic and brittle materials, like glasses or ceramics. The magnitude of the elastic and rupture modulus is several orders of magnitude lower compared to dense glass. The mechanical behaviours (elastic and brittle) are related to the same kinds of gel characteristics: pore volume, silanol content and pore size. Elastic modulus depends strongly on the volume fraction of pores and on the condensation reaction between silanols. Concerning the brittleness features: rupture modulus and toughness, it is shown that pores size plays an important role. Pores can econsidered as flaws in the terms of fracture mechanics and the flaw size is related to the pore size. Weibull’s theory is used to show the statistical nature of flaw. Moreover, stresscorrosion behaviour is studied as a function of environmental conditions (water and alcoholicatmosphere) and temperature.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01921452
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Thierry Woignier, Juan Primera, Adil Hafidi Alaoui, Pascal Etienne, Florence Despetis, et al.. Mechanical properties and brittle behavior of silica aerogels. Gels, MDPI, 2015, 1 (2), pp.256. ⟨10.3390/gels1020256⟩. ⟨hal-01921452⟩

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