Nanofoams- foams with pore sizes in the range of nanometers- are in concept an extension of microcellular foams. The idea of creating nano-scaled cells in polymeric materials is exciting and largely unexplored. Due to the unique structures, nanofoams are expected to have many properties that are superior to those of existing materials, such as much higher strength-to-weight ratios. Nanofoams have the potential to be used for any applications where foamed polymers are currently used, with possibly improved performance. These novel materials are expected to find a wide range of applications in construction, packaging, motor vehicle, microelectronics, and household products. Kumar's lab has recently reported production of nanofoams in PEI.
Figure #1: Nanofoam created in PEI.