A method for the preparation of high strength air-dried organic aerogels. The method involves the sol-gel polymerization of organic gel precursors, such as resorcinol with formaldehyde (RF) in aqueous solvents with R/C ratios greater than about 1000 and R/F ratios less than about 1:2.1. Using a procedure analogous to the preparation of resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF) aerogels, this approach generates wet gels that can be air dried at ambient temperatures and pressures. The method significantly reduces the time and/or energy required to produce a dried aerogel compared to conventional methods using either supercritical solvent extraction. The air dried gel exhibits typically less than 5% shrinkage.
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.