PUBLISHED: Nature communications, 5 2014
Low-density nanostructured foams are often limited in applications due to their low mechanical and thermal stabilities. Here we report an approach of building the structural units of three-dimensional (3D) foams using hybrid two-dimensional (2D) atomic layers made of stacked graphene oxide layers reinforced with conformal hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) platelets. The ultra-low density (1/400 times density of graphite) 3D porous structures are scalably synthesized using solution processing method. A layered 3D foam structure forms due to presence of h-BN and significant improvements in the mechanical properties are observed for the hybrid foam structures, over a range of temperatures, compared with pristine graphene oxide or reduced graphene oxide foams. It is found that domains of h-BN layers on the graphene oxide framework help to reinforce the 2D structural units, providing the observed improvement in mechanical integrity of the 3D foam structure.