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.
|Journal||Angewandte Chemie: International Edition|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Apr 2017|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- life-cycle assessment
- production technology
- silica aerogels
- thermal insulation