Functional as a philosophy

Malik Adnan Saeed working in a Schrenk Hall laboratory. Photo by Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T.

After working for several years at Chevron Corp. on government contracts in his native Pakistan, Malik Adnan Saeed decided to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. He says Dr. Nicholas Leventis, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of chemistry, and his work in the field of aerogels inspired his choice to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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Researchers create shape-memory aerogels with rubber-like elasticity

A time-lapse of one of the aerogels flexing from a held-closed position back to its original straight shape. Photo by Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T.

Polymeric aerogels are nanoporous structures that combine some of the most desirable characteristics of materials, such as flexibility and mechanical strength. It is nearly impossible to improve on a substance considered the final frontier in lightweight materials. But chemists from Missouri University of Science and Technology have done just that by making aerogels that have rubber-like elasticity and can “remember” their original shapes.

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