Clay aerogels are unique materials formed through the sublimation drying of aluminosilicate clay hydrogels. Aerogels have been an area of increased research interest in the past decade due to their very low density, high surface area/porosity, and very low thermal conductivity. Significant efforts have been made to increase the mechanical strength and moisture resistance of these materials through the incorporation of both organic polymers and fiber reinforcement. Aluminosilicates can also be alkali activated, producing a highly crosslinked 3D network polymer with generally excellent mechanical strength and chemical resistance, but with high density. This work presents a preliminary investigation into the combination of aerogel production techniques with alkali activation, with the goal of producing a high strength, alkali activated aerogel. Metakaolin, dehydroxylated montmorillonite and S Type furnace slag were investigated as aluminosilicate sources. It was found that it is possible to create a stable solid material with density of approximately 0.9 g*cm-1, compressive strength up to 9.9 MPa, and porosity on the order of 10-30 microns.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Aerogels; Aluminum silicates

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Varela, Benjamin

Advisor/Committee Member

Hensel, Edward

Advisor/Committee Member

Ghoneim, Hany


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TA455.C43 S84 2009


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