Aerogels having a high density of hydroxyl groups and a more uniform pore size with fewer bottlenecks are described. The aerogel is exposed to a mixture of a supercritical fluid and water, whereupon the aerogel forms a high density of hydroxyl groups. The process also relaxes the aerogel into a more open uniform internal structure, in a process referred to as hydroetching. The hydroetching process removes bottlenecks from the aerogels, and forms the hydrogels into more standard pore sizes while preserving their high surface area.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0676RLO1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.