Abstract

This paper presents the fabrication and characterization of porous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) plates. The framework for obtaining porous PDMS is based on the solvent evaporation induced phase separation technique. A mixture of PDMS, water, and tetrahydrofuran (THF) with different concentrations is prepared. The three phases are stirred to reach a highly stable and viscous solution. The THF and water phases are evaporated during a curing cycle by applying a stepping heat treatment. The porous PDMS sheets with a wide range of pore sizes are fabricated by controlling the ratio of water to THF in the mixture. The confocal microscopy images are used to characterize the average pore size and the pore size distribution in the structures. Dogbone samples following the ASTM standard D412 are cut from the porous plates by utilizing a designed cutting die and mechanical press. The specimens are tested under tensile loading to evaluate the effect of the pore size on the mechanical properties of the porous structure. The results demonstrate the ability of the proposed solvent evaporation method to control the stiffness of the porous structure by changing the non-solvent to the solvent ratio in the mixture.

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