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AEROGELS: APPLICATIONS, STRUCTURE, AND HEAT TRANSFER PHENOMENA

DOI: 10.1615/AnnualRevHeatTransfer.v6.40
pages 61-114

Klaus Richter
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720

Pamela M. Norris
University of Virginia, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Chang-Lin Tien
NEC Distinguished Professor of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California

Abstract

This chapter provides an interdisciplinary review of a fascinating porous material known as aerogel. It begins with a description of the production techniques and the historical development. This is followed by a review of a wide-range of potential applications, with much emphasis given to use of aerogels as catalysts and thermal insulators. Next, the methods currently used for studying the intriguing microstructure and their results are presented. Finally, due to the tremendous potential of aerogels as thermal insulators, the heat transfer mechanisms, which are strongly influenced by the nanoporous microstructure, are discussed in detail. While several reviews of ultrafine structures, and even aerogels, are available in the literature, this is the first such work directed at the mechanical engineering community.

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