Understanding the Expansion of a Swellable Silicate

Amanda Logue

2011

SOMS (swellable organically-modified silica) is a novel glassy material that expands upon exposure to nonpolar compounds but not upon the addition of water. The behavior upon expansion was modeled by collecting data on the force exerted by the sample using a custom-designed apparatus. Five different samples with different swelling capacities were processed using the methodology developed herein. The data obtained is yet another crucial component to understanding what is physically occurring to the sample as it expands. Further knowledge of this process can lend itself to increasing the applicability of the compound in remediation of contaminated water, chemical sensing, bomb detection, etc.