Translucent Silica Aerogel: Properties, Preparation and Applications


Series: Materials Science and Technologies
BISAC: TEC021000

Silica translucent aerogels are unique materials able to improve the thermal insulation performance of buildings without compromising daylight transmission.

The aim of the book is to give a general overview on state of the art research on translucent aerogels and their applications in buildings and to provide a data set about thermal and physical properties, useful in buildings’ energy performance simulation and design.

Silica aerogels are nanostructured solid materials made of approximately 96% air and 4% silica. They show a thermal conductivity in the 0.012–0.020 W/mK range and excellent optical properties, especially visible transmission. They come in granular and monolithic form. Granular aerogels are relatively easy to produce and less expensive than monolithic panes, but show worse optical and thermal performance. Monolithic aerogels enable vision through the material, but their fabrication process is not developed at an industrial scale.

The book collects the contributions of experts in the field of translucent aerogels from all over the world. The contents of the eight chapters are detailed as follows:

Chapter 1 is the contribution from Union College, Schenectady (USA). The chapter reviews the chemical approaches to silica wet gels preparation, the drying methods used to yield monoliths, and the challenges and limitations associated with its production.

Chapter 2 is a contribution from EMPA, Dübendorf (Switzerland). It is a review of current state of the art research on silica aerogel granulate production, including raw materials selection, hydrophobization strategies, and drying methodologies.

Chapter 3 is a contribution from Takenaka Corporation, Tokyo (Japan). The main techniques for the optical properties evaluation are described and data are provided. An original application of translucent aerogels in buildings and future research topics are also proposed.

Chapter 4 is a contribution from Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Rize and Ataturk University, Erzurum (Turkey). A review of the thermal properties of aerogels is provided, highlighting their better performance when compared to conventional and superinsulation materials.

Chapter 5 is a contribution from the University of Perugia, Perugia (Italy). The acoustic properties of both granular and monolithic systems are investigated. For example, the influence of granule size and layer thickness that is deepened for granular aerogels is discussed, while for the monolithic form, the little data that is currently available is reported on.

Chapter 6 is a contribution from the University of Tuscia, Viterbo (Italy) and Buro Happold Ltd, London (UK). It is focused on Life Cycle Assessment of silica aerogel, showing the research challenges in understanding its environmental impact, lower than the one of conventional thermal insulating glazing systems.

Chapter 7 is a contribution from the University of Lyon and INSA-Lyon, Lyon (France). An overview of measurement methods and modeling tools available in literature is provided and a summary of the main mechanical properties of both monolithic and granular aerogels is reported on.

Chapter 8 is a contribution from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim and SINTEF, Trondheim (Norway). Authors present their experimental investigations on various aerogel systems in different building envelopes (new aerogel glass material, aerogel-incorporated concrete, and so forth).
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Monolithic Aerogel Preparation
(Ann M. Anderson and Mary K. Carroll, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Union College, Schenectady, NY, US, and others)

Chapter 2. Granular Aerogel Preparation
(Matthias M. Koebel, Shanyu Zhao and Wim J. Malfait, Building Energy Materials and Components Laboratory, Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland)

Chapter 3. Optical Properties of Translucent Aerogel-Based Materials
(Takeshi Ihara, Finishing Materials Group, Construction Material Engineering Department, Takenaka Research & Development Institute, Takenaka Corporation, Tokyo, Japan)

Chapter 4. Thermal Properties of Aerogels: From Theory to Practice
(Erdem Cuce, Pinar Mert Cuce, Tamer Guclu and Ahmet B. BesirDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Zihni Derin Campus, Rize, Turkey, and others)

Chapter 5. Acoustic Performance of Translucent Aerogel-Based Materials
(Cinzia Buratti, Elisa Belloni, Francesca Merli and Elisa Moretti, Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy)

Chapter 6. Life Cycle Assessment of Translucent Silica Aerogel-Based Materials
(Marco Barbanera and Mark Dowson, Department of Economics, Engineering, Society and Business Organization, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy, and others)

Chapter 7. Mechanical Properties of Monolithic and Granular Based-Aerogels, Measurement and Analysis
(Genevieve Foray, Bruno Chal, Anouk Perret, Lucian Roiban, Karine Masenelli-Varlot and Eric Maire, MATEIS, Université de Lyon, UCBL, INSA-Lyon, UMR CNRS 5510, F69621 Villeurbanne Cedex, France)

Chapter 8. Aerogel Systems for Miscellaneous Building Applications – Experimental Investigations
(Bjørn Petter Jelle and Tao Gao, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Trondheim, Norway, and others)



“In this book I found an exhaustive view of current and new manufacturing processes of monolithic and granulate silica translucent aerogels, and of optical, thermal, acoustical and mechanical properties of different kinds of aerogel based building components. The chapters are written by researchers working in recognized worldwide labs in USA, Switzerland, Japan, Turkey, Italy, France and Norway and the contents are updated according to the most recent knowledge. As researcher in the field of building physics and consultant of architectural firms I appreciated the contents of the book. I particularly recommend reading it at building engineers involved in designing innovative energy efficient building envelopes.” – Marco Filippi, Professor Emeritus, Department of Energy, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy

Keywords: Silica aerogel, monolithic aerogel, granular aerogel, innovative material, super insulation materials energy saving, indoor comfort, thermal properties, acoustic properties, optical properties, thermal conductivity, translucent, transparency, life cycle analysis, life cycle assessment, transmittance, reflectance, energy consumption

The book is aimed at engineers and professionals specialized in the field of energy saving and the development of new insulation materials for opaque and transparent envelope. It is also aimed at researchers in the field of innovative insulation materials, especially for the transparent buildings enevelope. It could also be of interest for people who want to deepen a current newsworthy such as reducing consumption and energy savings in buildings.

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