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Highlight Lecture

WEB Rational design and controlled assembly of silk fibroin biopolymer hybrids as advanced multifunctional aerogels

Wednesday (23.09.2020)
10:40 - 10:55 Z: Special Symposia I
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Rational design and controlled assembly of porous macrostructures from sustainable molecular precursors containing high surface area, mechanical flexibility, thermal stability, and electrical conductivity are crucial for several applications mainly energy storage devices, catalysts and catalyst supports, sensors, tissue engineering scaffold [1]. Silk fibroin (SF) is a multifunctional naturally occurring biopolymer that presented various illustrious properties like biocompatibility, biodegradability, and versatility in processing. Recent SF aerogel so-called AeroSF, developed by Maleki et al. [2-4] and it's composite prepared by in-situ self-assembly of SF with various organosilanes [2] comprised several interesting physical properties such as high surface area, ultra-low density, and ultra-low thermal conductivity. Nevertheless, improvement in mechanical properties together with controlled microstructure, macroscopic shape, reversible flexibility, and thermal resistance are still required to render SF based aerogel counterparts highly promising for some advanced applications. Thus, in our current study, we take advantage of a synergistic combination of surface chemistry modification, in-situ self-assembly, and sol-gel, together with directional freeze casting techniques [3], and successfully developed various highly porous bioinspired 3D monoliths, beads and printed aerogel constructs with multiple shapes and controlled anisotropic microstructures. Some of this macrostructure consist of (1) ultra-light, highly flexible, superhydrophobic SF-MXene composite aerogels with reversible compressibility, nacre mimetic microstructure, and (2) self-healing highly porous millimetric and micrometric sized hallow, core-shell and Janus beads through cryo-assembly and cryo-assembly assisted electro-spraying of polyethyleneimine crosslinked SF for reversible removal of Cu(II) ions, organic dyes, and solvents from aqueous media. Finally, the SF hybrid aerogels presented here combine efficient use of sustainable resources with a facile control of micro and macrostructures, mechanical properties, and scalability leading to the realization of flexible and ultralight aerogels with great promise for various applications.

[1] Zeng et al. ACS Nano 2020, 14, 2927−2938 [2] H. Maleki et al., ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2018, 26, 22718-22730. [3] aH. Maleki* et al., J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, 6, 12598–12612. [4] H. Maleki* et al. Adv. Eng. Mat, 2020, DOI: 10.1002/adem.202000033.

Dr.-Ing. Hajar Maleki
University of Cologne
Additional Authors:
  • Valentin Bruder
    University of Cologne
  • Rene weissing
    University of Cologne
  • Jaqueline Auer
    University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria
  • Prof. Dr. Sanjay Mathur
    University of Cologne