Aerogel is a novel material that hold the potential to improve a range of products and processes, due to its superior properties related to insulation and structural integrity. Current adoption of aerogel has so far been limited due the ability to produce it cost-efficiently and in custom shapes and forms.
Description of technology
The developed technology can be used in the following applications:
Rapid Fabrication of Strong Aerogel
Aerogels are highly porous and lightest materials. Such physical properties make them unique materials for several diverse applications ranging from aerospace to the items used in daily life. This makes it a challenging area of today’s science and technology to explore new ways to design new materials and to find ways to tailor the properties of developed materials to meet today’s and future needs.
In a strive to develop extraordinary materials/processes in this field, a solution has been created for one of the major cause of their unacceptability by industries for decades as a material of choice due to their very slow and time-consuming fabrication process.The optimized synthesis parameters have been identified in such a way that the aerogel materials that were earlier fabricated in days can now be made in just a few hours’ even seconds. Furthermore, using the developed method, materials in any shape and size can be developed just in few hours in one pot which was not possible earlier. Another important development is the ability to produce mechanically strong aerogels by using common visible light or laser source. Recent experiment shows some success in developing aerogel through photo-polymerization that can convert the precursor liquid solution to highly porous and strong solid just in seconds. Keeping in view this unique attribute of our process, it is expected that such material will replace other high-density existing materials being used for other thermal insulation materials.
2. High Heat and Anti-Flammable coating
Anti-Flammable surface coating is a mixture of film-forming materials plus pigments, solvents, and other additives, which, when applied to a surface and cured or dried, yields a thin film that is functional and often decorative. Surface coatings include paints, drying oils and varnishes, clear synthetic coatings, and other products whose primary function is to protect the surface of an object from the environment. These products can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of an object by accentuating its surface features or even by concealing them from view.
The technology developed is based on Aerogel-polymer composite to develop a fire-retardant coating system. Herein, a coating system based on silica aerogel and epoxy resin as the binder has been developed. Epoxy resin is a synthetic, thermosetting polymer with an epoxide group. Epoxy resins exhibit rewarding thermal insulation properties and good mechanical strength. Hence, it is included as a useful ingredient in our formulation. To further enhance the thermal insulation behavior, varying amounts of silica aerogel was added. We successfully formulate a composite with a good film forming, high strength material is therefore the most viable route to harvest the benefit of silica aerogel as a thermal insulation material. The physical and chemical properties of the prepared coating samples were studied using thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), surface area measurements and furrier-transform infra-red (FTIR).
3. Fabrication of 3D printed resin with tailored properties
Current 3D printing and additive manufacturing witnessed rapid growth in recent years. Commercial 3D printing materials (resins), especially for stereolithography (SLA) technology suffer many limitations. The most significant limitations are usually low mechanical strength, high density, and massive shrinkage. Therefore, these materials have limited applications. Broaden the scope of SLA 3Dprinting requires the development of new robust and lightweight material with minimum shrinkage. This results in the fabrication of 3D printed objects with endless applications.
To address these issues, a new silica aerogel resin has been formulated to produce new material lightweight material which could be printed and used in the medical field such as customized prosthetic devices, diabetic foot insole, and medical implants. This technology is based on the formulation of preformed aerogel and polymer composite system to fabricate a resin for commercial stereolithography printers. The produced material is light weight, porous and flexible Silica aerogel composites. The developed material was found to be four times light than the materials available in the market today and have superior mechanical strength.
Patent: Methods of forming aerogels
Fabrication of strong and ultra-lightweight silica-based aerogel materials with tailored properties, KM Saoud, S Saeed, MF Bertino, LS White - Journal of Porous Materials, 2017
Fabrication of native silica, cross-linked, and hybrid aerogel monoliths with customized geometries, KM Saoud, S Saeed, MF Bertino, LS White - IOP Publishing Ltd Translational Materials Research, Volume 3, Translational Materials Research 3, 2016.
Rapid fabrication of cross-linked silica aerogel by laser induced gelation, Shaukat Saeed, Rola M Al Soubaihi, Lauren S White, Massimo F Bertino, Khaled M Saoud, . - Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2016.
Laser induced instantaneous gelation: Aerogels for 3D printing, Shaukat Saeed, Rola Al-Soubaihi, Massimo F Bertino, Lauren S White and Khaled M Saoud - J. Mater. Chem. A, 2015.
Influence of silica derivatizer and monomer functionality and concentration on the mechanical properties of rapid synthesis cross-linked aerogels, L.S. White, M.F. Bertino, S. Saeed, K. Saoud - Microporous and Mesoporous Materials Volume 217, 15 November 2015,
Shortened aerogel fabrication times using an ethanol–water azeotrope as a gelation and drying solvent, L. S. White, M. F. Bertino, G. Kitchen, J. Young, C. Newton, R. Al-Soubaihi, S. Saeed and K. Saoud - Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2015)
Dr. Khaled Saoud