Evaporation kinetics in highly porous tetrapodal zinc oxide networks studied using in situ SRµCT


Tetrapodal zinc oxide (t-ZnO) is used to fabricate polymer composites for many different applications ranging from biomedicine to electronics. In recent times, macroscopic framework structures from t-ZnO have been used as a versatile sacrificial template for the synthesis of multi-scaled foam structures from different nanomaterials such as graphene, hexagonal boron nitride or gallium nitride. Many of these fabrication methods rely on wet-chemical coating processes using nanomaterial dispersions, leading to a strong interest in the actual coating mechanism and factors influencing it. Depending on the type of medium (e.g. solvent) used, different results regarding the homogeneity of the nanomaterial coating can be achieved. In order to understand how a medium influences the coating behavior, the evaporation process of water and ethanol is investigated in this work using in situ synchrotron radiation-based micro computed tomography (SRµCT). By employing propagation-based phase contrast imaging, both the t-ZnO network and the medium can be visualized. Thus, the evaporation process can be monitored non-destructively in three dimensions. This investigation showed that using a polar medium such as water leads to uniform evaporation and, by that, a homogeneous coating of the entire network.
QR Code: Link to publication