A method of gelcasting includes the steps of providing a solution of at least hydroxymethylacrylamide (HMAM) and water. At least one inorganic powder is added to the mixture. At least one initiator system is provided to polymerize the HMAM. The initiator polymerizes the HMAM and water, to form a firm hydrogel that contains the inorganic powder. One or more comonomers can be polymerized with the HMAM monomer, to alter the final properties of the gelcast material. Additionally, one or more additives can be included in the polymerization mixture, to alter the properties of the gelcast material.
This invention was made with government support under contract DE-AC0596OR22464, awarded by the United States Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the United States Government has certain rights in this invention.