CONCEPTS & OBJECTIVES

Aerogels are the perfect mesoporous, nanostructured solids for thermal insulation and the lowest thermal conductivity solids known to man (λ < 0.012 W m-1 K-1 at ambient conditions). Silica aerogels are the most widely studied and used class of aerogel materials for thermal superinsulation applications.

Currently the main inhibitors that avoid spreading the use of superinsulating aerogel materials are: (i) the high cost involved in their production and (ii) the poor mechanical properties of the associated current silica aerogel insulation products.

Therefore, the production of silica aerogels on a large scale at a reasonable cost and with good mechanical properties still remains a great challenge.

AEROCOIN proposes to create a new class of mechanically strong super-insulating aerogel composite/hybrid materials by overcoming the two major obstacles which have endured for so long and have prevented a more wide-spread use of silica-based aerogel insulation components in the building industry:

  • Strengthening of silica aero-gels by cross-linking with cellulosic polymers or the incorporation of cellulose-based nanofibres.
  • Lowering the production cost of monolithic plates or boards of composite/hybrid aero-gel materials via ambient drying and continuous production technology.

Acting on these two material & process incentives, new superinsulating aerogel-like materials with improved thermo-mechanical properties will be synthesized at the lab scale, developed at pilot scale and a fabrication concept for cost effective mass production laid out for further pre-industrial development.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES:

  • Synthesize and elaborate novel, mechanically strong and superinsulating aerogel-based materials via a subcritical ambient drying process.
  • Design and fabricate a highly efficient and robust building component for its implementation in the external part of the envelope of existing buildings.
  • Demonstrate the significant cost reduction of the commercial production of superinsulating aerogel-like materials and hence also of the component.