The world's first: plastic bottles make aerogels

Plastic bottles are one of the most common types of plastic waste, so it's better to be able to find out how more they are recycled. With this in mind, researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a plastic that will A low-cost method for converting bottles into very useful aerogels.

The NUS R&D team is led by Associate Professor Hai Minh Duong and Professor Nhan Phan-Thien. The materials used in the experiment are common polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The researchers first made PET into fiber and then silica. Coating. From this step, the production process becomes quite complicated, but mainly involves chemical treatment of the fibers, allowing them to swell and then drying.

The resulting aerogel is light, porous, flexible and durable. It is the world's first PET to make this material, and has many potential uses.

For example, if a variety of methyl compounds are applied to the surface of an aerogel, the oil absorption capacity is equivalent to 7 times that of other commercially available adsorbent materials. It can also be used as a thermal or acoustic insulation material in buildings. , or when coated with an amine-based compound, can be used as a filter to filter dust particles and carbon dioxide in reusable masks. Researchers are also investigating the surface of aerogels designed to modify materials by modification. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide.

However, the best use of aerogels may be considered as a protective insulation for firefighter jacket uniforms. When the material is coated with flame retardant chemicals, it can withstand temperatures up to 620oC (1,148oF). The weight of the glue is only about 10% of the protective insulation used by current firefighter jackets, and is softer and more comfortable.

The National University of Singapore has applied for a patent for the technology and is now looking for a partner to help the product go live. A paper on this research was recently published in Colloids and Surfaces A.