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By TRUNNANO | 16 May 2024 | 0 Comments

This article lets you find out exactly what aerogel is

What is an aerogel?
Aerogels are a unique material, a solid material prepared through a sol-gel process and characterized by extremely low density and high porosity, appearing like frozen smoke or solid air. These pores in an aerogel are mainly occupied by gases, giving it extremely lightweight and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties. They can be formed in a variety of matrices, such as silicon, carbon, and metal oxides.

What are aerogel powders?
Aerogel powder usually refers to the pulverization or processing of aerogel materials into a powder form. This allows for easy mixing or dispersion in certain applications, such as coatings, composite reinforcement, and thermal insulation fillers.
There is a wide range of aerogels that are categorized primarily based on the constituent materials, including but not limited to:
Silica Aerogel: the most common type, with silica as the base material.
Carbon Aerogel: good conductivity and high surface area, suitable for catalytic and electrochemical applications.
Aluminum oxide aerogel: high-temperature resistant, commonly used for high-temperature insulation.
Metal Aerogels: such as copper and nickel, with unique electromagnetic properties.
Polymer aerogels: lightweight and flexible, suitable for flexible electronic and absorption materials.
The most widely used is silica aerogel, so what is silica aerogel?
Silica aerogel ( also called silicon dioxide aerogel ),silicon dioxide aerogel is a kind of aerogel formed by aqueous silicate solution through hydrolysis-sol-gel and drying, and its main component is silicon dioxide.

Silicon dioxide aerogel has the following characteristics:
Low density: 99.8% of the volume of silicon dioxide aerogel is air, which gives it an extremely low density and makes it one of the lightest solid materials in the world.
Porosity: Silica aerogel has a porous network structure at the nanometer level, which gives it a large specific surface area and a porosity of more than 90%.
Thermal insulation: Silica aerogel has a very low thermal conductivity, so it has excellent thermal insulation properties.
Sound insulation: its porous structure gives it good sound insulation properties.
Adsorption: Due to its highly porous structure, it can adsorb liquid and gas molecules very effectively.
Environmental performance: Silica aerogel material is environmentally friendly and non-polluting, which is conducive to sustainable development.
The types of silica aerogel mainly include the following:
Aerogel powder/particles: this is a basic form of silica aerogel, which can be further processed into other products. It is also divided into hydrophobic and hydrophilic aerogels.
Aerogel Felt: made by combining fiber reinforcing materials (e.g., organic fibers or high-temperature resistant inorganic fibers) with aerogel, it has a good thermal insulation effect, hydrophobic properties, and excellent flexibility.
Aerogel plate: similar to aerogel felt, made by a composite of aerogel and other materials.
Aerogel glass: mainly aerogel coated glass and vacuum laminated aerogel glass, two categories by adding a layer of aerogel film on the surface of ordinary glass or filling aerogel material in the insulating glass interlayer to improve the thermal insulation performance.
Silicon dioxide aerogel application fields:
Thermal insulation field: aerogel felt, board, glass, and other products are widely used in the aerospace field, high temperature resistant industrial pipelines, tanks, and other curved surface equipment thermal insulation.
Adsorption field: Due to its highly porous structure, it can adsorb liquid and gas molecules very effectively, so it has a wide range of applications in the fields of desiccant, adsorbent, catalyst, filtration material and gas separation.
Acoustics field: Silica aerogel can effectively absorb sound and is widely used in the field of sound deadening, sound insulation, and acoustic materials.
Biomedical field: Silica aerogel has biocompatibility and biosafety, so it can be used in the fields of drug delivery, tissue repair, artificial organs and medical imaging.
Energy field: It can be used in the preparation of supercapacitors and, lithium-ion batteries and other electric vehicles and energy storage devices.
The above information is for reference only, for more information about silica aerogel, it is recommended to refer to relevant literature or consult professionals.
The difference between hydrophobic aerogels and hydrophilic aerogels lies mainly in their wettability to water:
The surface of hydrophobic aerogels is specially treated so that they repel water molecules. This means that they do not readily absorb water and remain dry even in humid environments, making them suitable for use in areas such as waterproof insulation and oil-water separation.
Hydrophilic aerogels, on the contrary, are able to absorb and retain large amounts of water. This property makes them widely used in moisture absorption, moisturizing, water purification, drug release, and so on. Hydrophilic aerogels typically have better liquid absorption and faster absorption rates.

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