Researchers have created a new aerogel nicknamed ‘frozen smoke’, that boasts amazing strength and an incredibly large surface area.
The ultralight multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) aerogel is fabricated from a wet gel of well-dispersed pristine MWCNTs.
“The MWCNT aerogel has an ordered macroporous honeycomb structure with straight and parallel voids in 50−150 μm separated by less than 100 nm thick walls. The entangled MWCNTs generate mesoporous structures on the honeycomb walls, creating aerogels with a surface area of 580 m2/g which is much higher than that of pristine MWCNTs (241 m2/g).”
Aerogels have been fabricated from silica, metal oxides, and carbon-based materials and are already used in thermal insulation in windows and buildings, tennis racquets, and other products, but only few scientists have succeeded in making aerogels from carbon nanotubes.
The excellent compression recoverable property, hierarchically porous structure with large surface area, and high conductivity grant the MWCNT aerogels exceptional pressure and chemical vapor sensing capabilities.
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