Dealloyed nanoporous materials with interface-controlled behavior
Dealloying, the selective dissolution of less noble elements from an alloy, enables the preparation of monolithic macroscale bodies, which at the nanostructure level exhibit a network of ligaments with a well-defined characteristic size that can be tuned to between a few nanometers and several microns. These porous solids can be made with macroscale dimensions, and, prior to dealloying, can be shaped to form engineered components. Their surface-to-volume ratio is extremely large and their bicontinuous structure provides transport pathways to tune the surface state under control of an electric or chemical potential. These materials present new opportunities for exploring the impact of surfaces on material behaviors and for exploiting surface effects in novel materials design strategies. New experimental approaches unraveling surface effects involving small-scale plasticity and elasticity have been demonstrated. Approaches to new functional materials include electrochemical potential switching of strength, stiffness, fracture resistance, fluid sorption, actuation, and quasi-piezoelectric strain sensing.