Fast and Minimal-Solvent Production of Superinsulating Silica Aerogel Granulate

Lukas Huber, Shanyu Zhao, Wim J. Malfait (Corresponding Author), Sirje Vares, Matthias M. Koebel (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    104 Citations (Scopus)


    With their low thermal conductivity (λ), silica aerogels can reduce carbon emissions from heating and cooling demands, but their widespread adoption is limited by the high production cost. A one-pot synthesis for silica aerogel granulate is presented that drastically reduces solvent use, production time, and global warming potential. The inclusion of the hydrophobization agent prior to gelation with a post-gelation activation step, enables a complete production cycle of less than four hours at the lab scale for a solvent use close to the theoretical minimum, and limits the global warming potential. Importantly, the one-pot aerogel granulate retains the exceptional properties associated with silica aerogel, mostly λ=14.4±1.0mWm-1K-1 for the pilot scale materials, about half that of standing air (26mWm-1K-1). The resource-, time-, and cost-effective production will allow silica aerogels to break out of its niche into the mainstream building and industrial insulation markets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4753-4756
    JournalAngewandte Chemie: International Edition
    Issue number17
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • life-cycle assessment
    • production technology
    • silica aerogels
    • solvents
    • thermal insulation


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