Enhancing mechanical properties of silica aerogels

Kimberly A.D. Obrey, Kennard V. Wilson, Douglas A. Loy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Low-density monolithic silica and hexylene-bridged polysilsesquioxane aerogels were chemical vapor deposition (CVD) treated with hexamethyldisilazane or hexachlorodisilane silylating agents producing TMS (trimethylsilane) or Si layers on the aerogel. Reinforcing the weak aerogels by controlled deposition process improved their compressive strength and preserved their properties characteristic of low-density aerogels. When the silica and hexylene-bridged polysilsesquioxane aerogels were CVD treated with hexamethyldisilazane, the compressive modulus more than doubled in some cases. However, when treating hexylene-bridged aerogels with hexachlorodisilane the compressive modulus increased six fold. Not only did CVD treatment of the aerogels improve the compressive modulus, but the low densities, high surface areas, high porosities, and the transparency of the aerogels were not significantly affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3435-3441
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Non-Crystalline Solids
Issue number19-20
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • CVD
  • Mechanical properties
  • Polysilsesquioxane
  • Silica aerogel
  • Sol-gel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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