Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 24

Search results for: aerogel

24 Development of Water-Based Thermal Insulation Paints Using Silica Aerogel

Authors: Lu Yanru, Handojo Djati Utomo, Yin Xi Jiang, Li Xiaodong


Insulation plays a key role in the sustainable building due to the contribution of energy consumption reduction. Without sufficient insulation, a great amount of the energy used to heat or cool a building will be lost to the outdoors. In this study, we developed a highly efficient thermal insulation paint with the incorporation of silica aerogel. Silica aerogel, with a low thermal conductivity of 0.01 W/mK, has been successfully prepared from the solid waste from the incineration plants. It has been added into water-based paints to increase its thermal insulation properties. To investigate the thermal insulation performance of silica aerogel additive, the paint samples were mixed with silica aerogel at different sizes and with various portions. The thermal conductivity, water resistance, thermal stability and adhesion strength of the samples were tested and evaluated. The thermal diffusivity measurements proved that adding silica aerogel additive could improve the thermal insulation properties of the paint significantly. Up to 5 ˚C reductions were observed after applying paints with silica aerogel additive compare to the one without it. The results showed that the developed thermal insulation paints have great potential for an application in green and sustainable building.

Keywords: silica aerogel, thermal insulation, water-based paints, water resistant

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23 Numerical Study of Heat Transfer in Silica Aerogel

Authors: Amal Maazoun, Abderrazak Mezghani, Ali Ben Moussa


Aerogel consists of a ramified and inter-connected solid skeleton enclosing a very important number of nano-sized pores filled with air that occupies most of the volume and makes very low density. The thermal conductivity of this material can reach lower values than those of any other material, and it changes with the type of the aerogel and its composition. So, in order to explain the causes of the super-insulation of our material and to determine the factors in which depends on its conductivity we used a numerical simulation. We have developed a numerical code that generates random fractal structure of silica aerogel with pre-defined concentration, properties of the backbone and the gas in the pores as well as the size of the particles. The calculation of the conductivity at any point of domain shows that it is not constant and that it depends on the pore size and the location in the pore. A numerical method based on resolution by inversion of block tridiagonal matrices is used to calculate the equivalent thermal conductivity of the whole fractal structure. The average conductivity calculated for each concentration is in good agreement with those of typical aerogels. And we found that the equivalent thermal conductivity of a silica aerogel depends strongly not only on the porosity but also on the tortuosity of the solid backbone.

Keywords: aerogel, fractal structure, numerical study, porous media, thermal conductivity

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22 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


Silica aerogels are well-known meso-porous materials with high specific surface area (500–1000 m2/g), high porosity (80–99.8%), and low density (0.003–0.8 g/cm3). However, the silica aerogels generally are highly brittle due to their nanoporous nature. Physical and mechanical properties of the silica aerogels can be enhanced by compounding with the fibers. Although some reports presented incorporation of the fibers into the sol, followed by further modification and drying stages, no information regarding the aerogel powders as filler in the polymeric fibers is available. In this research, waterglass based aerogel powder was prepared in the following steps: sol–gel process to prepare a gel, followed by subsequent washing with propan-2-ol, n-Hexane, and TMCS, then ambient pressure drying, and ball milling. 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 nano fibers to improve their hydrophobic and insulation properties. The samples evaluation was carried out by measuring density, porosity, contact angle, sliding 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 nano fibers to control surface roughness for manipulating superhydrophobic nanowebs with sliding angle of 5˚ and water contact angle of 147º. It can be due to a multi-scale surface roughness which was created by nanowebs structure itself and nano fibers surface irregularity in presence of the aerogels while a laye 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 nano fibers without any aerogel powder to 8% for the nano fibers 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 energy-saving practices.

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

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21 Synthesize of Cobalt Oxide Nanoballs/Carbon Aerogel Nanostructures: Towards High-Performance Materials for Supercapacitors

Authors: A. Bahadoran, M. Zomorodian


The synthesizer of cobalt oxide nanoballs (length 3−4 μm, width 250−400 nm) was achieved by a simple high-temperature supercritical solution method. Multiwalled carbon aerogels are a step towards high-density nanometer-scale nanostructures. Cobalt oxide nanoballs were prepared by supercritical solution method. Synthesis in an aqueous solution containing cobalt hydroxide at ∼80 °C without any further heat treatment at high temperature. The formation of cobalt oxide nanoballs on carbon aerogel was confirmed by X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. The FE-SEM images showed the presence of cobalt oxide nanoballs. The reaction mechanism of the ultrasound-assisted synthesis of cobalt oxide nanostructures was proposed on the basis of the XRD, X-ray absorption spectroscopy analysis and FE-SEM observation of the reaction products taken during the course of the synthesis.

Keywords: cobalt oxide nano balls, carbon aerogel, synthesize, nanostructure

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20 Aerogel Fabrication Via Modified Rapid Supercritical Extraction (RSCE) Process - Needle Valve Pressure Release

Authors: Haibo Zhao, Thomas Andre, Katherine Avery, Alper Kiziltas, Deborah Mielewski


Silica aerogels were fabricated through a modified rapid supercritical extraction (RSCE) process. The silica aerogels were made using a tetramethyl orthosilicate precursor and then placed in a hot press and brought to the supercritical point of the solvent, ethanol. In order to control the pressure release without a pressure controller, a needle valve was used. The resulting aerogels were then characterized for their physical and chemical properties and compared to silica aerogels created using similar methods. The aerogels fabricated using this modified RSCE method were found to have similar properties to those in other papers using the unmodified RSCE method. Silica aerogel infused glass blanket composite, graphene reinforced silica aerogel composite were also successfully fabricated by this new method. The modified RSCE process and system is a prototype for better gas outflow control with a lower cost of equipment setup. Potentially, this process could be evolved to a continuous low-cost high-volume production process to meet automotive requirements.

Keywords: aerogel, automotive, rapid supercritical extraction process, low cost production

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19 Synthesis and Electromagnetic Wave Absorbing Property of Amorphous Carbon Nanotube Networks on a 3D Graphene Aerogel/BaFe₁₂O₁₉ Nanorod Composite

Authors: Tingkai Zhao, Jingtian Hu, Xiarong Peng, Wenbo Yang, Tiehu Li


Homogeneous amorphous carbon nanotube (ACNT) networks have been synthesized using floating catalyst chemical vapor deposition method on a three-dimensional (3D) graphene aerogel (GA)/BaFe₁₂O₁₉ nanorod (BNR) composite which prepared by a self-propagating combustion process. The as-synthesized ACNT/GA/BNR composite which has 3D network structures could be directly used as a good absorber in the electromagnetic wave absorbent materials. The experimental results indicated that the maximum absorbing peak of ACNT/GA/BNR composite with a thickness of 2 mm was -18.35 dB at 10.64 GHz in the frequency range of 2-18 GHz. The bandwidth of the reflectivity below -10 dB is 3.32 GHz. The 3D graphene aerogel structures which composed of dense interlined tubes and amorphous structure of ACNTs bearing quantities of dihedral angles could consume the incident waves through multiple reflection and scattering inside the 3D web structures. The interlinked ACNTs have both the virtues of amorphous CNTs (multiple reflections inside the wall) and crystalline CNTs (high conductivity), consuming the electromagnetic wave as resistance heat. ACNT/GA/BNR composite has a good electromagnetic wave absorbing performance.

Keywords: amorphous carbon nanotubes, graphene aerogel, barium ferrite nanorod, electromagnetic wave absorption

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18 Synthesis and Characterization of an Aerogel Based on Graphene Oxide and Polyethylene Glycol

Authors: Javiera Poblete, Fernando Gajardo, Katherina Fernandez


Graphene, and its derivatives such as graphene oxide (GO), are emerging nanoscopic materials, with interesting physical and chemical properties. From them, it is possible to develop three-dimensional macrostructures, such as aerogels, which are characterized by a low density, high porosity, and large surface area, having a promising structure for the development of materials. The use of GO as a precursor of these structures provides a wide variety of materials, which can be developed as a result of the functionalization of their oxygenated groups, with specific compounds such as polyethylene glycol (PEG). The synthesis of aerogels of GO-PEG for non-covalent interactions has not yet been widely reported, being of interest due to its feasible escalation and economic viability. Thus, this work aims to develop a non-covalently functionalized GO-PEG aerogels and characterize them physicochemically. In order to get this, the GO was synthesized from the modified hummers method and it was functionalized with the PEG by polymer-assisted GO gelation (crosslinker). The gelation was obtained for GO solutions (10 mg/mL) with the incorporation of PEG in different proportions by weight. The hydrogel resulting from the reaction was subsequently lyophilized, to obtain the respective aerogel. The material obtained was chemically characterized by analysis of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD), and its morphology by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images; as well as water absorption tests. The results obtained showed the formation of a non-covalent aerogel (FTIR), whose structure was highly porous (SEM) and with a water absorption values greater than 50% g/g. Thus, a methodology of synthesis for GO-PEG was developed and validated.

Keywords: aerogel, graphene oxide, polyethylene glycol, synthesis

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17 Preparation of Ternary Metal Oxide Aerogel Catalysts for Carbon Dioxide and Propylene Oxide Cycloaddition Reaction

Authors: Y. J. Lin, Y. F. Lin


CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas which causes global warming in recent years. As the carbon capture and storage (CCS) getting maturing, the reuse of carbon dioxide which made from CCS is the important issue. In this way, the most common method is the synthesis of cyclic carbonate chemicals from the cycloaddition reaction of carbon dioxide and epoxide. The catalyst plays an important role in the CO2/epoxide cycloaddition reactions. The Lewis acid and base sites are both needed on the catalyst surface for the help of epoxide ring opening, leading to the synthesis of cyclic carbonate. Furthermore, the larger specific surface area and more active site of the catalyst are also needed to enhance the efficiency of the CO2/epoxide cycloaddition reactions. Aerogel is a mesoporous nanomaterial (pore size between 2~50 nm) with high specific surface area and porosity (at least 90%) and low density. In this study, the ternary metal oxide aerogels, Mg-doped Al2O3 aerogels, with higher specific surface area and Lewis acid and base sites on the aerogel surface are successfully prepared by using a facile sol-gel reaction. The as-prepared Mg-doped Al2O3 aerogels are also served as heterogenous catalyst for the CO2/propylene- oxide cycloaddition reaction. Compared to the pristine Al2O3 aerogels, the Mg-doped Al2O3 aerogels possessed both Lewis acid and base sites on the surface are able to enhance the efficiency of the CO2/propylene oxide cycloaddition reactions. As a result, the as-prepared Mg-doped Al2O3 aerogels are a promising and novel catalyst for the CO2/epoxide cycloaddition reactions.

Keywords: ternary, metal oxide aerogel, CO2 reuse, cycloaddition, propylene oxide

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16 Superoleophobic Nanocellulose Aerogel Membrance as Bioinspired Cargo Carrier on Oil by Sol-Gel Method

Authors: Zulkifli, I. W. Eltara, Anawati


Understanding the complementary roles of surface energy and roughness on natural nonwetting surfaces has led to the development of a number of biomimetic superhydrophobic surfaces, which exhibit apparent contact angles with water greater than 150 degrees and low contact angle hysteresis. However, superoleophobic surfaces—those that display contact angles greater than 150 degrees with organic liquids having appreciably lower surface tensions than that of water—are extremely rare. In addition to chemical composition and roughened texture, a third parameter is essential to achieve superoleophobicity, namely, re-entrant surface curvature in the form of overhang structures. The overhangs can be realized as fibers. Superoleophobic surfaces are appealing for example, antifouling, since purely superhydrophobic surfaces are easily contaminated by oily substances in practical applications, which in turn will impair the liquid repellency. On the other studied have demonstrate that such aqueous nanofibrillar gels are unexpectedly robust to allow formation of highly porous aerogels by direct water removal by freeze-drying, they are flexible, unlike most aerogels that suffer from brittleness, and they allow flexible hierarchically porous templates for functionalities, e.g. for electrical conductivity. No crosslinking, solvent exchange nor supercritical drying are required to suppress the collapse during the aerogel preparation, unlike in typical aerogel preparations. The aerogel used in current work is an ultralight weight solid material composed of native cellulose nanofibers. The native cellulose nanofibers are cleaved from the self-assembled hierarchy of macroscopic cellulose fibers. They have become highly topical, as they are proposed to show extraordinary mechanical properties due to their parallel and grossly hydrogen bonded polysaccharide chains. We demonstrate that superoleophobic nanocellulose aerogels coating by sol-gel method, the aerogel is capable of supporting a weight nearly 3 orders of magnitude larger than the weight of the aerogel itself. The load support is achieved by surface tension acting at different length scales: at the macroscopic scale along the perimeter of the carrier, and at the microscopic scale along the cellulose nanofibers by preventing soaking of the aerogel thus ensuring buoyancy. Superoleophobic nanocellulose aerogels have recently been achieved using unmodified cellulose nanofibers and using carboxy methylated, negatively charged cellulose nanofibers as starting materials. In this work, the aerogels made from unmodified cellulose nanofibers were subsequently treated with fluorosilanes. To complement previous work on superoleophobic aerogels, we demonstrate their application as cargo carriers on oil, gas permeability, plastrons, and drag reduction, and we show that fluorinated nanocellulose aerogels are high-adhesive superoleophobic surfaces. We foresee applications including buoyant, gas permeable, dirt-repellent coatings for miniature sensors and other devices floating on generic liquid surfaces.

Keywords: superoleophobic, nanocellulose, aerogel, sol-gel

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15 Utilizing Fly Ash Cenosphere and Aerogel for Lightweight Thermal Insulating Cement-Based Composites

Authors: Asad Hanif, Pavithra Parthasarathy, Zongjin Li


Thermal insulating composites help to reduce the total power consumption in a building by creating a barrier between external and internal environment. Such composites can be used in the roofing tiles or wall panels for exterior surfaces. This study purposes to develop lightweight cement-based composites for thermal insulating applications. Waste materials like silica fume (an industrial by-product) and fly ash cenosphere (FAC) (hollow micro-spherical shells obtained as a waste residue from coal fired power plants) were used as partial replacement of cement and lightweight filler, respectively. Moreover, aerogel, a nano-porous material made of silica, was also used in different dosages for improved thermal insulating behavior, while poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers were added for enhanced toughness. The raw materials including binders and fillers were characterized by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) analysis techniques in which various physical and chemical properties of the raw materials were evaluated like specific surface area, chemical composition (oxide form), and pore size distribution (if any). Ultra-lightweight cementitious composites were developed by varying the amounts of FAC and aerogel with 28-day unit weight ranging from 1551.28 kg/m3 to 1027.85 kg/m3. Excellent mechanical and thermal insulating properties of the resulting composites were obtained ranging from 53.62 MPa to 8.66 MPa compressive strength, 9.77 MPa to 3.98 MPa flexural strength, and 0.3025 W/m-K to 0.2009 W/m-K as thermal conductivity coefficient (QTM-500). The composites were also tested for peak temperature difference between outer and inner surfaces when subjected to heating (in a specially designed experimental set-up) by a 275W infrared lamp. The temperature difference up to 16.78 oC was achieved, which indicated outstanding properties of the developed composites to act as a thermal barrier for building envelopes. Microstructural studies were carried out by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) for characterizing the inner structure of the composite specimen. Also, the hydration products were quantified using the surface area mapping and line scale technique in EDS. The microstructural analyses indicated excellent bonding of FAC and aerogel in the cementitious system. Also, selective reactivity of FAC was ascertained from the SEM imagery where the partially consumed FAC shells were observed. All in all, the lightweight fillers, FAC, and aerogel helped to produce the lightweight composites due to their physical characteristics, while exceptional mechanical properties, owing to FAC partial reactivity, were achieved.

Keywords: aerogel, cement-based, composite, fly ash cenosphere, lightweight, sustainable development, thermal conductivity

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14 Thermal Resistance Analysis of Flexible Composites Based on Al2O3 Aerogels

Authors: Jianzheng Wei, Duo Zhen, Zhihan Yang, Huifeng Tan


The deployable descent technology is a lightweight entry method using an inflatable heat shield. The heatshield consists of a pressurized core which is covered by different layers of thermal insulation and flexible ablative materials in order to protect against the thermal loads. In this paper, both aluminum and silicon-aluminum aerogels were prepared by freeze-drying method. The latter material has bigger specific surface area and nano-scale pores. Mullite fibers are used as the reinforcing fibers to prepare the aerogel matrix to improve composite flexibility. The flexible composite materials were performed as an insulation layer to an underlying aramid fabric by a thermal shock test at a heat flux density of 120 kW/m2 and uniaxial tensile test. These results show that the aramid fabric with untreated mullite fibers as the thermal protective layer is completely carbonized at the heat of about 60 s. The aramid fabric as a thermal resistance layer of the composite material still has good mechanical properties at the same heat condition.

Keywords: aerogel, aramid fabric, flexibility, thermal resistance

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13 Application of Alumina-Aerogel in Post-Combustion CO₂ Capture: Optimization by Response Surface Methodology

Authors: S. Toufigh Bararpour, Davood Karami, Nader Mahinpey


Dependence of global economics on fossil fuels has led to a large growth in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Among the various GHGs, carbon dioxide is the main contributor to the greenhouse effect due to its huge emission amount. To mitigate the threatening effect of CO₂, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies have been studied widely in recent years. For the combustion processes, three main CO₂ capture techniques have been proposed such as post-combustion, pre-combustion and oxyfuel combustion. Post-combustion is the most commonly used CO₂ capture process as it can be readily retrofit into the existing power plants. Multiple advantages have been reported for the post-combustion by solid sorbents such as high CO₂ selectivity, high adsorption capacity, and low required regeneration energy. Chemical adsorption of CO₂ over alkali-metal-based solid sorbents such as K₂CO₃ is a promising method for the selective capture of diluted CO₂ from the huge amount of nitrogen existing in the flue gas. To improve the CO₂ capture performance, K₂CO₃ is supported by a stable and porous material. Al₂O₃ has been employed commonly as the support and enhanced the cyclic CO₂ capture efficiency of K₂CO₃. Different phases of alumina can be obtained by setting the calcination temperature of boehmite at 300, 600 (γ-alumina), 950 (δ-alumina) and 1200 °C (α-alumina). By increasing the calcination temperature, the regeneration capacity of alumina increases, while the surface area reduces. However, sorbents with lower surface areas have lower CO₂ capture capacity as well (except for the sorbents prepared by hydrophilic support materials). To resolve this issue, a highly efficient alumina-aerogel support was synthesized with a BET surface area of over 2000 m²/g and then calcined at a high temperature. The synthesized alumina-aerogel was impregnated on K₂CO₃ based on 50 wt% support/K₂CO₃, which resulted in the preparation of a sorbent with remarkable CO₂ capture performance. The effect of synthesis conditions such as types of alcohols, solvent-to-co-solvent ratios, and aging times was investigated on the performance of the support. The best support was synthesized using methanol as the solvent, after five days of aging time, and at a solvent-to-co-solvent (methanol-to-toluene) ratio (v/v) of 1/5. Response surface methodology was used to investigate the effect of operating parameters such as carbonation temperature and H₂O-to-CO₂ flowrate ratio on the CO₂ capture capacity. The maximum CO₂ capture capacity, at the optimum amounts of operating parameters, was 7.2 mmol CO₂ per gram K₂CO₃. Cyclic behavior of the sorbent was examined over 20 carbonation and regenerations cycles. The alumina-aerogel-supported K₂CO₃ showed a great performance compared to unsupported K₂CO₃ and γ-alumina-supported K₂CO₃. Fundamental performance analyses and long-term thermal and chemical stability test will be performed on the sorbent in the future. The applicability of the sorbent for a bench-scale process will be evaluated, and a corresponding process model will be established. The fundamental material knowledge and respective process development will be delivered to industrial partners for the design of a pilot-scale testing unit, thereby facilitating the industrial application of alumina-aerogel.

Keywords: alumina-aerogel, CO₂ capture, K₂CO₃, optimization

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12 Dielectric Spectroscopy Investigation of Hydrophobic Silica Aerogel

Authors: Deniz Bozoglu, Deniz Deger, Kemal Ulutas, Sahin Yakut


In recent years, silica aerogels have attracted great attention due to their outstanding properties, and their wide variety of potential applications such as microelectronics, nuclear and high-energy physics, optics and acoustics, superconductivity, space-physics. Hydrophobic silica aerogels were successfully synthesized in one-step by surface modification at ambient pressure. FT-IR result confirmed that Si-OH groups were successfully converted into hydrophobic and non-polar Si-CH3 groups by surface modification using trimethylchloro silane (TMCS) as co-precursor. Using Alpha-A High-Resolution Dielectric, Conductivity and Impedance Analyzer, AC conductivity of samples were examined at temperature range 293-423 K and measured over frequency range between 1-106 Hz. The characteristic relaxation time decreases with increasing temperature. The AC conductivity follows σ_AC (ω)=σ_t-σ_DC=Aω^s relation at frequencies higher than 10 Hz, and the dominant conduction mechanism is found to obey the Correlated Barrier Hopping (CBH) mechanism. At frequencies lower than 10 Hz, the electrical conduction is found to be in accordance with DC conduction mechanism. The activation energies obtained from AC conductivity results and it was observed two relaxation regions.

Keywords: aerogel, synthesis, dielectric constant, dielectric loss, relaxation time

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11 Products in Early Development Phases: Ecological Classification and Evaluation Using an Interval Arithmetic Based Calculation Approach

Authors: Helen L. Hein, Joachim Schwarte


As a pillar of sustainable development, ecology has become an important milestone in research community, especially due to global challenges like climate change. The ecological performance of products can be scientifically conducted with life cycle assessments. In the construction sector, significant amounts of CO2 emissions are assigned to the energy used for building heating purposes. Therefore, sustainable construction materials for insulating purposes are substantial, whereby aerogels have been explored intensively in the last years due to their low thermal conductivity. Therefore, the WALL-ACE project aims to develop an aerogel-based thermal insulating plaster that would achieve minor thermal conductivities. But as in the early stage of development phases, a lot of information is still missing or not yet accessible, the ecological performance of innovative products bases increasingly on uncertain data that can lead to significant deviations in the results. To be able to predict realistically how meaningful the results are and how viable the developed products may be with regard to their corresponding respective market, these deviations however have to be considered. Therefore, a classification method is presented in this study, which may allow comparing the ecological performance of modern products with already established and competitive materials. In order to achieve this, an alternative calculation method was used that allows computing with lower and upper bounds to consider all possible values without precise data. The life cycle analysis of the considered products was conducted with an interval arithmetic based calculation method. The results lead to the conclusion that the interval solutions describing the possible environmental impacts are so wide that the result usability is limited. Nevertheless, a further optimization in reducing environmental impacts of aerogels seems to be needed to become more competitive in the future.

Keywords: aerogel-based, insulating material, early development phase, interval arithmetic

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10 Light Weight Fly Ash Based Composite Material for Thermal Insulation Applications

Authors: Bharath Kenchappa, Kunigal Shivakumar


Lightweight, low thermal conductivity and high temperature resistant materials or the system with moderate mechanical properties and capable of taking high heating rates are needed in both commercial and military applications. A single material with these attributes is very difficult to find and one needs to come with innovative ideas to make such material system using what is available. To bring down the cost of the system, one has to be conscious about the cost of basic materials. Such a material system can be called as the thermal barrier system. This paper focuses on developing, testing and characterization of material system for thermal barrier applications. The material developed is porous, low density, low thermal conductivity of 0.1062 W/m C and glass transition temperature about 310 C. Also, the thermal properties of the developed material was measured in both longitudinal and thickness direction to highlight the fact that the material shows isotropic behavior. The material is called modified Eco-Core which uses only less than 9% weight of high-char resin in the composite. The filler (reinforcing material) is a component of fly ash called Cenosphere, they are hollow micro-bubbles made of ceramic materials. Special mixing-technique is used to surface coat the fillers with a thin layer of resin to develop a point-to-point contact of particles. One could use commercial ceramic micro-bubbles instead of Cenospheres, but it is expensive. The bulk density of Cenospheres is about 0.35 g/cc and we could accomplish the composite density of about 0.4 g/cc. One percent filler weight of 3mm length standard drywall grade fibers was used to bring the added toughness. Both thermal and mechanical characterization was performed and properties are documented. For higher temperature applications (up to 1,000 C), a hybrid system was developed using an aerogel mat. Properties of combined material was characterized and documented. Thermal tests were conducted on both the bare modified Eco-Core and hybrid materials to assess the suitability of the material to a thermal barrier application. The hybrid material system was found to meet the requirement of the application.

Keywords: aerogel, fly ash, porous material, thermal barrier

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9 Nanotechnology Innovations for the Sustainable Buildings of the Future

Authors: Ayşin Sev, Meltem Ezel


Sustainability, being the urgent issue of our time, is closely related with the innovations in technology. Nanotechnology (NT), although not a new science, can be regarded relatively a new science for buildings with brand new materials and applications. This paper tends to give a research review of current and near future applications of nanotechnology (NT) for achieving high-performance and healthy buildings for a sustainable future. In the introduction, the driving forces for the sustainability of construction industry are explained. Then, the term NT is defined, and significance of innovations in NT for a sustainable construction industry is revealed. After presenting the application areas of NT and nanomaterials for buildings with a number of cases, challenges in the adoption of this technology are put forward, and finally the impacts of nanoparticles and nanomaterials on human health and environment are discussed.

Keywords: nanomaterial, self-healing concrete, self cleaning sensor, nanosensor, steel, wood, aerogel, flexible solar panel

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8 Polypyrrole as Bifunctional Materials for Advanced Li-S Batteries

Authors: Fang Li, Jiazhao Wang, Jianmin Ma


The practical application of Li-S batteries is hampered due to poor cycling stability caused by electrolyte-dissolved lithium polysulfides. Dual functionalities such as strong chemical adsorption stability and high conductivity are highly desired for an ideal host material for a sulfur-based cathode. Polypyrrole (PPy), as a conductive polymer, was widely studied as matrixes for sulfur cathode due to its high conductivity and strong chemical interaction with soluble polysulfides. Thus, a novel cathode structure consisting of a free-standing sulfur-polypyrrole cathode and a polypyrrole coated separator was designed for flexible Li-S batteries. The PPy materials show strong interaction with dissoluble polysulfides, which could suppress the shuttle effect and improve the cycling stability. In addition, the synthesized PPy film with a rough surface acts as a current collector, which improves the adhesion of sulfur materials and restrain the volume expansion, enhancing the structural stability during the cycling process. For further enhancing the cycling stability, a PPy coated separator was also applied, which could make polysulfides into the cathode side to alleviate the shuttle effect. Moreover, the PPy layer coated on commercial separator is much lighter than other reported interlayers. A soft-packaged flexible Li-S battery has been designed and fabricated for testing the practical application of the designed cathode and separator, which could power a device consisting of 24 light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Moreover, the soft-packaged flexible battery can still show relatively stable cycling performance after repeated bending, indicating the potential application in flexible batteries. A novel vapor phase deposition method was also applied to prepare uniform polypyrrole layer coated sulfur/graphene aerogel composite. The polypyrrole layer simultaneously acts as host and adsorbent for efficient suppression of polysulfides dissolution through strong chemical interaction. The density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that the polypyrrole could trap lithium polysulfides through stronger bonding energy. In addition, the deflation of sulfur/graphene hydrogel during the vapor phase deposition process enhances the contact of sulfur with matrixes, resulting in high sulfur utilization and good rate capability. As a result, the synthesized polypyrrole coated sulfur/graphene aerogel composite delivers a specific discharge capacity of 1167 mAh g⁻¹ and 409.1 mAh g⁻¹ at 0.2 C and 5 C respectively. The capacity can maintain at 698 mAh g⁻¹ at 0.5 C after 500 cycles, showing an ultra-slow decay rate of 0.03% per cycle.

Keywords: polypyrrole, strong chemical interaction, long-term stability, Li-S batteries

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7 Multifunctional Nanofiber Based Aerogels: Bridging Electrospinning with Aerogel Fabrication

Authors: Tahira Pirzada, Zahra Ashrafi, Saad Khan


We present a facile and sustainable solid templating approach to fabricate highly porous, flexible and superhydrophobic aerogels of composite nanofibers of cellulose diacetate and silica which are produced through sol gel electrospinning. Scanning electron microscopy, contact angle measurement, and attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectrometry are used to understand the structural features of the resultant aerogels while thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry demonstrate their thermal stability. These aerogels exhibit a self-supportive three-dimensional network abundant in large secondary pores surrounded by primary pores resulting in a highly porous structure. Thermal crosslinking of the aerogels has further stabilized their structure and flexibility without compromising on the porosity. Ease of processing, thermal stability, high porosity and oleophilic nature of these aerogels make them promising candidate for a wide variety of applications including acoustic and thermal insulation and oil and water separation.

Keywords: hybrid aerogels, sol-gel electrospinning, oil-water separation, nanofibers

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6 Investigation on the Kinetic Mechanism of the Reduction of Fe₂O₃/CoO-Decorated Carbon Xerogel

Authors: Mohammad Reza Ghaani, Michele Catti


The reduction of CoO/Fe₂O₃ oxides supported on carbon xerogels was studied to elucidate the effect of nano-size distribution of the catalyst in carbon matrices. Resorcinol formaldehyde xerogels were synthesized, impregnated with iron and cobalt nitrates, and subsequently heated to obtain the oxides. The mechanism of oxide reduction to metal was investigated by in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction in dynamic, non-isothermal conditions. Kinetic profiles of the reactions were obtained by plotting the diffraction intensities of selected Bragg peaks vs. temperature. The extracted Temperature-Programmed-Reduction (TPR) diagrams were analyzed by appropriate kinetic models, leading to best results with the Avrami-Erofeev model for all reduction reactions considered. The activation energies for the two-step reduction of iron oxide were 65 and 37 kJmol⁻¹, respectively. The average value for the reduction of CoO to Co was found to be around 21 kJ mol⁻¹. Such results may contribute to develop efficient and inexpensive non-noble metal-based catalysts in element form, e.g., Fe, Co, via heterogenization of metal complexes on mesoporous supports.

Keywords: non-isothermal kinetics, carbon aerogel, in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction, reduction mechanisms

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5 Growth Model and Properties of a 3D Carbon Aerogel

Authors: J. Marx, D. Smazna, R. Adelung, B. Fiedler


Aerographite is a 3D interconnected carbon foam. Its tetrapodal morphology is based on the zinc oxide (ZnO) template structure, which is replicated in the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) into a hollow carbon structure. This replication process is analyzed in ex-situ studies via interrupted synthesis and the observation of the reaction progress by using scanning electron (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and Raman spectroscopy techniques. Based on the epitaxial growth process, with a layer-by-layer growth behaviour of the wall thickness or number of layers and the catalytical graphitization of the deposited amorphous carbon into graphitic carbon by zinc, a growth model is created. The properties of aerographite, such as the electrical conductivity is dependent on the graphitization and number of layer (wall thickness). Wall thicknesses between 3 nm and 22 nm are achieved by a controlled stepwise reduction of the synthesis time on the basis of the developed growth model, and by a further thermal treatment at 1800 °C the graphitization of the presented carbon foam is modified. The variation of the wall thickness leads to an optimum defect density (ID/IG ratio) and the graphitization to an improvement in the electrical conductivity. Furthermore, a metallic conducting behaviour of untreated and 1800 °C treated aerographite can be observed. Due to these structural and defective modifications, a fundamental structural-property equation for the description of their influences on the electrical conductivity is developed.

Keywords: electrical conductivity, electron microscopy (SEM/TEM), graphitization, wall thickness

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4 Functionalized Carbon-Base Fluorescent Nanoparticles for Emerging Contaminants Targeted Analysis

Authors: Alexander Rodríguez-Hernández, Arnulfo Rojas-Perez, Liz Diaz-Vazquez


The rise in consumerism over the past century has resulted in the creation of higher amounts of plasticizers, personal care products and other chemical substances, which enter and accumulate in water systems. Other sources of pollutants in Neotropical regions experience large inputs of nutrients with these pollutants resulting in eutrophication of water which consume large quantities of oxygen, resulting in high fish mortality. This dilemma has created a need for the development of targeted detection in complex matrices and remediation of emerging contaminants. We have synthesized carbon nanoparticles from macro algae (Ulva fasciata) by oxidizing the graphitic carbon network under extreme acidic conditions. The resulting material was characterized by STEM, yielding a spherical 12 nm average diameter nanoparticles, which can be fixed into a polysaccharide aerogel synthesized from the same macro algae. Spectrophotometer analyses show a pH dependent fluorescent behavior varying from 450-620 nm in aqueous media. Heavily oxidized edges provide for easy functionalization with enzymes for a more targeted analysis and remediation technique. Given the optical properties of the carbon base nanoparticles and the numerous possibilities of functionalization, we have developed a selective and robust targeted bio-detection and bioremediation technique for the treatment of emerging contaminants in complex matrices like estuarine embayment.

Keywords: aerogels, carbon nanoparticles, fluorescent, targeted analysis

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3 Carbon Aerogel Spheres from Resorcinol/Phenol and Formaldehyde for CO₂ Adsorption

Authors: Jessica Carolina Hernandez Galeano, Juan Carlos Moreno Pirajan, Liliana Giraldo


Carbon gels are materials whose structure and porous texture can be designed and controlled on a nanoscale. Among their characteristics it is found their low density, large surface area and high degree of porosity. These materials are produced by a sol-gel polymerization of organic monomers using basic or acid catalysts, followed by drying and controlled carbonization. In this work, the synthesis and characterization of carbon aerogels from resorcinol, phenol and formaldehyde in ethanol is described. The aim of this study is obtaining different carbonaceous materials in the form of spheres using the Stöber method to perform a further evaluation of CO₂ adsorption of each material. In general, the synthesis consisted of a sol-gel polymerization process that generates a cluster (cross-linked organic monomers) from the precursors in the presence of NH₃ as a catalyst. This cluster was subjected to specific conditions of gelling and curing (30°C for 24 hours and 100°C for 24 hours, respectively) and CO₂ supercritical drying. Finally, the dry material was subjected to a process of carbonization or pyrolysis, in N₂ atmosphere at 350°C (1° C / min) for 2 h and 600°C (1°C / min) for 4 hours, to obtain porous solids that retain the structure initially desired. For this work, both the concentrations of the precursors and the proportion of ammonia in the medium where modify to describe the effect of the use of phenol and the amount of catalyst in the resulting material. Carbon aerogels were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), N₂ isotherms, infrared spectroscopy (IR) and X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRD) showing the obtention of carbon spheres in the nanometric scale with BET areas around 500 m2g-1.

Keywords: carbon aerogels, carbon spheres, CO₂ adsorption, Stöber method

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2 Crosslinked Porous 3-Dimensional Cellulose Nanofibers/Gelatin Based Biocomposite Aerogels for Tissue Engineering Application

Authors: Ali Mirtaghavi, Andy Baldwin, Rajendarn Muthuraj, Jack Luo


Recent advances in biomaterials have led to utilizing biopolymers to develop 3D scaffolds in tissue regeneration. One of the major challenges of designing biomaterials for 3D scaffolds is to mimic the building blocks similar to the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the native tissues. Biopolymer based aerogels obtained by freeze-drying have shown to provide structural similarities to the ECM owing to their 3D format and a highly porous structure with interconnected pores, similar to the ECM. Gelatin (GEL) is known to be a promising biomaterial with inherent regenerative characteristics owing to its chemical similarities to the ECM in native tissue, biocompatibility abundance, cost-effectiveness and accessible functional groups, which makes it facile for chemical modifications with other biomaterials to form biocomposites. Despite such advantages, gelatin offers poor mechanical properties, sensitive enzymatic degradation and high viscosity at room temperature which limits its application and encourages its use to develop biocomposites. Hydrophilic biomass-based cellulose nanofibrous (CNF) has been explored to use as suspension for biocomposite aerogels for the development of 3D porous structures with excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility and slow enzymatic degradation. In this work, CNF biocomposite aerogels with various ratios of CNF:GEL) (90:10, 70:30 and 50:50) were prepared by freeze-drying technique, and their properties were investigated in terms of physicochemical, mechanical and biological characteristics. Epichlorohydrin (EPH) was used to investigate the effect of chemical crosslinking on the molecular interaction of CNF: GEL, and its effects on physicochemical, mechanical and biological properties of the biocomposite aerogels. Ultimately, chemical crosslinking helped to improve the mechanical resilience of the resulting aerogels. Amongst all the CNF-GEL composites, the crosslinked CNF: GEL (70:30) biocomposite was found to be favourable for cell attachment and viability. It possessed highly porous structure (porosity of ~93%) with pore sizes ranging from 16-110 µm, adequate mechanical properties (compression modulus of ~47 kPa) and optimal biocompatibility both in-vitro and in-vivo, as well as controlled enzymatic biodegradation, high water penetration, which could be considered a suitable option for wound healing application. In-vivo experiments showed improvement on inflammation and foreign giant body cell reaction for the crosslinked CNF: GEL (70:30) compared to the other samples. This could be due to the superior interaction of CNF with gelatin through chemical crosslinking, resulting in more optimal in-vivo improvement. In-vitro cell culture investigation on human dermal fibroblasts showed satisfactory 3D cell attachment over time. Overall, it has been observed that the developed CNF: GEL aerogel can be considered as a potential scaffold for soft tissue regeneration application.

Keywords: 3D scaffolds, aerogels, Biocomposites , tissue engineering

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1 Development of Mesoporous Gel Based Nonwoven Structure for Thermal Barrier Application

Authors: R. P. Naik, A. K. Rakshit


In recent years, with the rapid development in science and technology, people have increasing requirements on uses of clothing for new functions, which contributes to opportunities for further development and incorporation of new technologies along with novel materials. In this context, textiles are of fast decalescence or fast heat radiation media as per as comfort accountability of textile articles are concern. The microstructure and texture of textiles play a vital role in determining the heat-moisture comfort level of the human body because clothing serves as a barrier to the outside environment and a transporter of heat and moisture from the body to the surrounding environment to keep thermal balance between body heat produced and body heat loss. The main bottleneck which is associated with textile materials to be successful as thermal insulation materials can be enumerated as; firstly, high loft or bulkiness of material so as to provide predetermined amount of insulation by ensuring sufficient trapping of air. Secondly, the insulation depends on forced convection; such convective heat loss cannot be prevented by textile material. Third is that the textile alone cannot reach the level of thermal conductivity lower than 0.025 W/ m.k of air. Perhaps, nano-fibers can do so, but still, mass production and cost-effectiveness is a problem. Finally, such high loft materials for thermal insulation becomes heavier and uneasy to manage especially when required to carry over a body. The proposed works aim at developing lightweight effective thermal insulation textiles in combination with nanoporous silica-gel which provides the fundamental basis for the optimization of material properties to achieve good performance of the clothing system. This flexible nonwoven silica-gel composites fabric in intact monolith was successfully developed by reinforcing SiO2-gel in thermal bonded nonwoven fabric via sol-gel processing. Ambient Pressure Drying method is opted for silica gel preparation for cost-effective manufacturing. The formed structure of the nonwoven / SiO₂ -gel composites were analyzed, and the transfer properties were measured. The effects of structure and fibre on the thermal properties of the SiO₂-gel composites were evaluated. Samples are then tested against untreated samples of same GSM in order to study the effect of SiO₂-gel application on various properties of nonwoven fabric. The nonwoven fabric composites reinforced with aerogel showed intact monolith structure were also analyzed for their surface structure, functional group present, microscopic images. Developed product reveals a significant reduction in pores' size and air permeability than the conventional nonwoven fabric. Composite made from polyester fibre with lower GSM shows lowest thermal conductivity. Results obtained were statistically analyzed by using STATISTICA-6 software for their level of significance. Univariate tests of significance for various parameters are practiced which gives the P value for analyzing significance level along with that regression summary for dependent variable are also studied to obtain correlation coefficient.

Keywords: silica-gel, heat insulation, nonwoven fabric, thermal barrier clothing

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