Synthesis and characterization of polysaccharide-silica composite aerogels for thermal superinsulation.

Abstract : Improving the thermal insulation of materials is a key challenge to lower global energy consumption and greenhouse effect gas emissions in the coming decades. This thesis focuses on the preparation and characterization of nanostructured composite materials combining the good mechanical properties of bio-aerogels with the excellent thermal insulation properties of silica aerogels. Two polysaccharides were used to make bio-aerogels: cellulose and pectin. Two strategies aiming to elaborate composite materials were investigated: “one-pot” process and impregnation of a porous “wet” polysaccharide matrix by polyethoxydisiloxane. Drying with supercritical CO2 yields the composite aerogels. While the one-pot method gave micron-sized silica particles embedded in a porous cellulose network, impregnation process allowed obtaining a nanostructured interpenetrated network of cellulose and silica. The specific surface area was 700-800 cm².g-1, the mechanical properties improved as compared to neat silica aerogels and thermal conductivity lower than that of cellulose aerogels. Using a chemically hydrophobized cellulose, tritylcellulose, as the impregnation matrix, hydrophobic composites were obtained showing a contact angle with water of 133° and thermal conductivities of 0.021 W.m-1.K-1. Aerogels from cross-linked pectin and their composites with silica show extremely low densities (around 0.05 g/cm3 for the neat pectin aerogels) and thermal conductivities in the 0.013-0.022 W.m-1.K-1 range.
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Arnaud Demilecamps. Synthesis and characterization of polysaccharide-silica composite aerogels for thermal superinsulation.. Materials. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENMP0029⟩. ⟨tel-01279456⟩

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