Organic aerogel microspheres which can be used in capacitors, batteries, thermal insulation, adsorption/filtration media, and chromatographic packings, having diameters ranging from about 1 micron to about 3 mm. The microspheres can be pyrolyzed to form carbon aerogel microspheres. This method involves stirring the aqueous organic phase in mineral oil at elevated temperature until the dispersed organic phase polymerizes and forms nonsticky gel spheres. The size of the microspheres depends on the collision rate of the liquid droplets and the reaction rate of the monomers from which the aqueous solution is formed. The collision rate is governed by the volume ratio of the aqueous solution to the mineral oil and the shear rate, while the reaction rate is governed by the chemical formulation and the curing temperature.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.