Article published on: Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids
Hybrid aerogels from carbon and silica precursors were obtained via a rapid process by microwave heating and the use of catalysts. Due to the varied nature of the precursors, one of the key points in synthesizing these hybrid aerogels is to ensure a homogeneous mixture during the entire synthesis process. It is well known that using microwaves may accelerate some reactions, but our study also evaluated the so-called microwave effect on certain reactions. Another strategy to boost polymerization reactions is the addition of a specific catalyst. The addition of a small amount of aminosilanes to the precursor solution was also evaluated with excellent results. The combination of the two different strategies (i.e., microwave heating and addition of aminosilanes) makes it possible to obtain hybrid aerogels via a rapid process and also to define the final porous properties via the usual synthesis variables (e.g., dilution ratio) in sol-gel synthesis.