Carbon aerogels are highly porous materials with a large inner surface area. Due to their high electrical conductivity they are excellent electrode materials in supercapacitors. Their brittleness, however, imposes certain limitations in terms of applicability. In that context, novel carbon aerogels with varying degree of flexibility have been developed. These highly porous, light aerogels are characterized by a high surface area and possess pore structures in the micrometer range, allowing for a reversible deformation of the aerogel network. A high ratio of pore size to particle size was found to be crucial for high flexibility. For dynamic microstructural analysis, compression tests were performed in-situ within a scanning electron microscope allowing us to directly visualize the microstructural flexibility of an aerogel. The flexible carbon aerogels were found to withstand between 15% and 30% of uniaxial compression in a reversible fashion. These findings might stimulate further research and new application fields directed towards flexible supercapacitors and batteries.
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