Aerogels lack connectivity between pores, which limits their use in environmental remediation and hazardous waste disposal.
A new aerogel fabrication process increases interconnectivity between pores. This connectivity increases the aerogel’s surface area and improves its ability to capture hazardous volatiles. By combusting nitrocellulose, the aerogel is formed with higher porosity and greater adsorption capacity, which allows the aerogel to act as a filter. The aerogels can also be made with hydrophobic surfaces for use in water applications, such as specialized filters for contaminant removal. Additionally, the process can be tailored to create nano- to micron-scale interconnectivity.