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Enhancement Studies on Manufacturing and Properties of Novel Silica Aerogel Composites

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Aerospace Engineering cluster, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 7 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerogels 2018)
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Silica Aerogel composites are ultra-low density, highly porous foam-like materials that exhibit excellent thermal insulation and high strain recovery characteristics. In the present work, environment-friendly silica aerogel composites are fabricated using silica aerogel granules with bio based porcine-gelatin as the binding agent dissolved in water and by further drying the mix at sub-zero condition. This article focuses on improvement studies carried on the mold design and the manufacturing process to achieve better geometric compliance for the silica aerogel composites. It also presents contact angle measurements, compressive behavior under different cycles of loading, time dependent behavior and flexural response of the composites. The influence of additives, such as fumed silica and carbon nanotubes on mechanical properties of the composites is also deliberated. Water droplet contact angle experiments confirmed the ultra-hydrophobic nature of the composites. The mechanical properties were characterized under cyclic loading-unloading compression and three-point flexure tests. On successive compression in three consecutive load cycles, the strain and thickness recovery were found to decrease by around 30%. The flexural properties of the aerogel composites were investigated using it as the core covered by thin carbon composite face sheets. It was found that the flexural strength and the failure strain of this aerogel sandwich composites is approximately half of the conventional nomex honeycomb sandwich equivalent. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerogel composites; mechanical characterization; sandwich design; cyclic loading aerogel composites; mechanical characterization; sandwich design; cyclic loading

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Joshi, S.C.; Manikandan, P.; Jothi, Y. Enhancement Studies on Manufacturing and Properties of Novel Silica Aerogel Composites. Gels 2018, 4, 5.

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