The objective of WG4 is to develop process design guidelines for aerogels manufacturing on an industrial scale
Specific Tasks of the WG4 are:
- The development of design procedures for unit operations required to manufacture different types of aerogels with various morphologies (monolithic, powder, beads) on an industrial scale, integration of unit operations and process optimization for minimizing costs of production.
- Identification of environmental, health and safety issues (handling of aerogels, use of chemicals, operation at high pressures, atmospheric emissions, etc.) and develop guidelines to address them.
- Development of guidelines for scaling up from pilot to industrial scale.
To achieve such tasks the activities of the WG4 are mainly focused on the production of various aerogels (inorganic, organic and hybrid) in various forms (powders, beads, monolithic blocks) in the laboratory and pilot scales. The production of both aerogel powders and beads will be conducted on the base of validate models for predicting parameters such as gelation time, droplet size, droplet size distribution, stirring power requirements as a function of concentration of reactants, solvents and surfactants. For production of monolithic blocks, to develop models for predicting gelation times as a function of reactant concentrations will be also implemented. The identification of effective unit operations for gel bead separation from gelation baths and develop designs will be exploited as weel as the development of models for the prediction of solvent exchange times, determination of solvent composition, and determination of processing requirements for supercritical (sc-) drying of aerogels and scale-up.