Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 719–731 | Cite as

Control of porous structure in flexible silicone aerogels produced from methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS): the effect of precursor concentration in sol–gel solutions

  • M. Du
  • N. Mao
  • SJ Russell
Original Paper


Controllable nanoporous structure in MTMS-based silicone aerogels is required to improve their thermal conductivity. Silicone aerogels were formed in a two-step acid–base catalysed sol–gel process combined with supercritical drying. The influence of MTMS concentration, specifically the molar ratio of methanol:MTMS and water:MTMS in the sol–gel process was studied in relation to the porous structure of resultant silicone aerogels. Samples were characterised to determine the dimensions of micro, meso and macro-pore structure by means of both nitrogen gas adsorption–desorption for detection of pores <300 nm and by analysis of FEG-SEM images for pores >300 nm. Porosity, pore volume distribution and Brunau er–Emmitt–Teller surface area in the silicone aerogels were all found to be influenced by adjustment of the molar ratio of methanol:MTMS and the molar ratio of water:MTMS during sol–gel processing.


Pore Size Distribution Total Pore Volume Silica Aerogel True Density Mesopore Volume 
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We would like to thank the financial support of Overseas Research Studentship (UK) and the University of Leeds Research Studentship for the research project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Performance Textiles and Clothing Research Group, School of DesignUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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