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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Aug 1;101(5):055501. Epub 2008 Jul 28.

Three-dimensional coherent x-ray diffraction imaging of a ceramic nanofoam: determination of structural deformation mechanisms.

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  • 1Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, USA.


Ultralow density polymers, metals, and ceramic nanofoams are valued for their high strength-to-weight ratio, high surface area, and insulating properties ascribed to their structural geometry. We obtain the labrynthine internal structure of a tantalum oxide nanofoam by x-ray diffractive imaging. Finite-element analysis from the structure reveals mechanical properties consistent with bulk samples and with a diffusion-limited cluster aggregation model, while excess mass on the nodes discounts the dangling fragments hypothesis of percolation theory.

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