Synthetic methods for the preparation of hydrophobic organics aerogels. One method involves the sol-gel polymerization of 1,3-dimethoxybenzene or 1,3,5-trimethoxybenzene with formaldehyde in non-aqueous solvents. Using a procedure analogous to the preparation of resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF) aerogels, this approach generates wet gels that can be dried using either supercritical solvent extraction to generate the new organic aerogels or air dried to produce an xerogel. Other methods involve the sol-gel polymerization of 1,3,5 trihydroxy benzene (phloroglucinol) or 1,3 dihydroxy benzene (resorcinol) and various aldehydes in non-aqueous solvents. These methods use a procedure analogous to the one-step base and two-step base/acid catalyzed polycondensation of phloroglucinol and formaldehyde, but the base catalyst used is triethylamine. These methods can be applied to a variety of other sol-gel precursors and solvent systems. These hydrophobic organics aerogels have numerous application potentials in the field of material absorbers and water-proof insulation.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.