Sunday, January 29, 2012
Creating aerogel with supercritical methanol
In previous videos, I used supercritical CO2 to dry my homemade aerogels. This time, I soaked the aerogel in methanol, then raised the temperature and pressure of the methanol itself to make it supercritical. This allows the gels to be dried without an additional solvent exchange into CO2. The downside is that it requires a chamber full of methanol at 460*F and over 1200 psi, which is a much bigger hazard than using CO2.
The aerogels dried with methanol shrank less than the ones dried with CO2, but there was still a lot of cracking, and I have yet to create a high-quality monolith.