NanoHybrids at AEROGELS 2018 – Investigation of External Mass Transfer Effects in Supercritical Drying of Alcogel Particles

Aerogel samples produced by partners of the NanoHybrids consortium. Picture: C. Remmersmann/TUTECH

One of the lectures relating to NanoHybrids results present investigation of external mass transfer effects in supercritical drying of alcogel particles. Organic aerogels in the form of particles are considered as promising materials for a wide variety of applications such as drug delivery, biosensing and food technology due their unique properties and biocompatibility. Maintaining the desired properties such as high porosity, high surface area and low density during the production process of aerogels is hugely important for these applications. Supercritical drying of wet gels to obtain aerogel particles by removing the pore filling solvent is a crucial step to preserve the desired material properties.

The design and optimization of industrial scale supercritical drying units can be supported by models for predicting the kinetics of this process. There is a need to study the drying of wet gels in the form of particles. İbrahim Şahin, Erdal Uzunlar and Can Erkey from Koc University investigated supercritical drying of alginate gel particles in a packed bed as a model system. Experiments with varied drying temperature, pressure and CO2 flow rate were compared to the results of a newly developed drying model. Experimental data and model agreements showed good results. This results have been achieved in the course of NanoHybrids.

İbrahim Şahin is Ph.D. Candidate, Koç University, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. He graduated in 2014 on Comparison of Hydrocracking Activities and Selectivities of Catalysts Prepared by Incipient Wetness and Supercritical Deposition. His PhD topic relates to supercritical drying of aerogel beads.

Prof. Dr. Can Erkey heads the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Koç University. His research efforts are primarily concentrated on engineering of materials or systems at the nano scale for  a wide variety of applications. A class of materials that is currently under investigation is aerogel which can be defined as a gel whose  pore liquid has been replaced by air. These nanoporous materials have intriguing properties due to their very high surface areas and highly porous structures and their properties can be tuned by modification of the synthesis conditions. Some of the ongoing research projects on aerogels are:

  1. development of carbon aerogel supported bimetallic nanoalloys as electrocatalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells
  2. development of drug delivery vehicles using biodegradable aerogels
  3. development of silica aerogel based optofluidic reactors
  4. aerogel based blankets for textile applications (thermal insulation and medical)

Can Erkey and his team are partners in NanoHybrids. In NanoHybrids they contribute to improving manufacturing of aerogel beads. They are involved in experiments on superctitical drying as well as in modelling. Can Erkey is work package leader of WP5 “Supercritical drying of aerogels: transfer from the lab to the pilot scale”.
Another research area is development of aftertreatment systems to reduce the emissions of  harmful compounds such as NOx and CO from diesel engines.

Erdal Uzunlar did his master thesis at Koç University and is currently researcher at Georgia Tech, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department in the lab of Paul A. Kohl.

Fourth International Seminar on AEROGELS 2018

Programme of the Fourth International Seminar on AEROGELS 2018

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