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Freeze-drying method as a new approach to the synthesis of polyurea aerogels from isocyanate and water

: Członka, S.; Bertino, M.F.; Kośny, J.; Shukla, N.


Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology 87 (2018), No.3, pp.685-695
ISSN: 0928-0707
ISSN: 1573-4846
Journal Article
Fraunhofer CSE ()

Polyurea (PUA) aerogels were prepared as the polycondensation product of triisocyanate and water. PUA aerogels were formed through supercritical drying (SC) and, for comparison, by freeze-drying (FD). The effect of isocyanate concentration, catalyst concentration, and drying method on properties like density, specific surface area, pore volume, compressive strength, and morphology was investigated. The properties of aerogels strongly depend on the concentration of the isocyanate in the parent solution and, to a lesser extent, on catalyst concentration. For example, aerogels with higher isocyanate concentration exhibited a higher surface area and modulus. Depending on the formulation, the materials had a density between 0.128 and 0.220 g/cm3, surface area between 140 and 210 m2/g, pore volume between 0.593 and 1.500 cm3/g, compressive modulus between 6.5 and 25 MPa, and thermal conductivity between about 0.028 and 0.033 W/m K. Most importantly, the drying method did not strongly affect the properties of the materials. These were within ~15% for SC and FD. The results indicate that freeze-drying can be successfully used to fabricate aerogels in a cost-effective way.
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