Mechanics of Time-Dependent Materials

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 83–111 | Cite as

The compressive behavior of isocyanate-crosslinked silica aerogel at high strain rates

Original Article


Aerogels are low-density, highly nano-porous materials. Their engineering applications are limited due to their brittleness and hydrophilicity. Recently, a strong lightweight crosslinked silica aerogel has been developed by encapsulating the skeletal framework of amine-modified silica aerogels with polyureas derived by isocyanate. The mesoporous structure of the underlying silica framework is preserved through conformal polymer coating, and the thermal conductivity remains low. Characterization has been conducted on the thermal, physical properties and the mechanical properties under quasi-static loading conditions. In this paper, we present results on the dynamic compressive behavior of the crosslinked silica aerogel (CSA) using a split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB). A new tubing pulse shaper was employed to help reach the dynamic stress equilibrium and constant strain rate. The stress-strain relationship was determined at high strain rates within 114–4386 s−1. The effects of strain rate, density, specimen thickness and water absorption on the dynamic behavior of the CSA were investigated through a series of dynamic experiments. The Young’s moduli (or 0.2% offset compressive yield strengths) at a strain rate ∼350 s−1 were determined as 10.96/2.08, 159.5/6.75, 192.2/7.68, 304.6/11.46, 407.0/20.91 and 640.5/30.47 MPa for CSA with densities 0.205, 0.454, 0.492, 0.551, 0.628 and 0.731 g cm−3, respectively. The deformation and failure behaviors of a native silica aerogel with density (0.472 g cm−3), approximately the same as a typical CSA sample were observed with a high speed digital camera. Digital image correlation technique was used to determine the surface strains through a series of images acquired using high speed photography. The relative uniform axial deformation indicated that localized compaction did not occur at a compressive strain level of ∼17%, suggesting most likely failure mechanism at high strain rate to be different from that under quasi-static loading condition. The Poisson’s ratio was determined to be 0.162 in nonlinear regime under high strain rates. CSA samples failed generally by splitting, but were much more ductile than native silica aerogels.


Aerogel Crosslinked silica aerogel Nano-porous materials Nanofoam Split Hopkinson pressure bar Dynamic failure High speed photography Digital image correlation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterU.S.A.
  2. 2.Division-Polymers BranchNASA Gleen Research CenterClevelandU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Missouri-RollaRollaU.S.A.

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