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A Sacrificial Route for Soft Porous Polymers Synthesized via Frontal Photo-Polymerization
Within the very large range of porous polymers and a related immense scope of applications, we investigate here a specific route to design soft porous polymers with controlled porosity: we use aqueous-based formulations of oligomers with mineral particles which are solidified into a hydrogel upon photo-polymerization; the embedded particles are then chemically etched and the hydrogel is dried to end up with a soft porous polymeric scaffold with micron-scale porosity. Morphological and physical features of the porous polymers are measured and we demonstrate that the porosity of the final material is primarily determined by the amount of initially dispersed sacrificial particles. In addition, the liquid formulations we use to start with are convenient for a variety of material forming techniques such as microfluidics, embossing, etc., which lead to many different morphologies (monoliths, spherical particles, patterned substrates) based on the same initial material.