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A Novel Method to Manufacture Superhydrophobic and Insulating Polyester Nanofibers via a Meso-Porous Aerogel Powder

Authors: Z. Mazrouei-Sebdani, A. Khoddami, H. Hadadzadeh, M. Zarrebini


In this research, waterglass based aerogel powder was prepared by sol–gel process and ambient pressure drying. Inspired by limited dust releasing, aerogel powder was introduced to the PET electrospinning solution in an attempt to create required bulk and surface structure for the nanofibers to improve their hydrophobic and insulation properties. The samples evaluation was carried out by measuring density, porosity, contact angle, heat transfer, FTIR, BET, and SEM. According to the results, porous silica aerogel powder was fabricated with mean pore diameter of 24 nm and contact angle of 145.9º. The results indicated the usefulness of the aerogel powder confined into nanofibers to control surface roughness for manipulating superhydrophobic nanowebs with water contact angle of 147º. It can be due to a multi-scale surface roughness which was created by nanowebs structure itself and nanofibers surface irregularity in presence of the aerogels while a layer of fluorocarbon created low surface energy. The wettability of a solid substrate is an important property that is controlled by both the chemical composition and geometry of the surface. Also, a decreasing trend in the heat transfer was observed from 22% for the nanofibers without any aerogel powder to 8% for the nanofibers with 4% aerogel powder. The development of thermal insulating materials has become increasingly more important than ever in view of the fossil energy depletion and global warming that call for more demanding energysaving practices.

Keywords: Superhydrophobicity, Insulation, Sol-gel, Surface energy, Roughness.

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