Millimeter-Size Spherical Polyurea Aerogel Beads with Narrow Size Distribution
We report the room temperature synthesis of spherical millimeter-size polyurea (PUA) aerogel beads. Wet-gels of said beads were obtained by dripping a propylene carbonate solution of an aliphatic triisocyanate based on isocyanurate nodes into a mixture of ethylenediamine and heavy mineral oil. Drying the resulting wet spherical gels with supercritical fluid (SCF) CO2 afforded spherical aerogel beads with a mean diameter of 2.7 mm, and a narrow size distribution (full width at half maximum: 0.4 mm). Spherical PUA aerogel beads had low density (0.166 +- 0.001 g cm–3), high porosity (87% v/v) and high surface area (197 m2 g–1). IR, 1H magic angle spinning (MAS) and 13C cross-polarization magic angle spinning (CPMAS) NMR showed the characteristic peaks of urea and the isocyanurate ring. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed the presence of a thin, yet porous skin on the surface of the beads with a different (denser) morphology than their interior. The synthetic method shown here is simple, cost-efficient and suitable for large-scale production of PUA aerogel beads.
aerogels, Desmodur N3300, ethylenediamine, polyurea, spherical beads
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 685648.