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Institute of Chemical Engineering & High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT)
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  Title Methodology for the production of transparent thermal and sound insulation tiles
  Group Reaction Engineering & Catalysis sector, ICE-HT
  Researcher Dr. Th. Ioannides
  Abstract One of the research groups of ICE-HT has recently developed a novel methodology for the production of transparent, monolithic SiO2 aerogel tiles for applications where a combination of thermal (and sound) insulation properties and optical transparency is desired. This technology can be advantageous for industries in the field of building materials, thermal insulation, window glazing production etc.
  Description Aerogels are materials with high porosity and very low density and they are, typically, produced via a sol-gel method. They are characterised by excellent thermal and sound insulation properties. Depending on the preparation method and the material of the aerogel, they can also show varying degrees of transparency. These properties make aerogels attractive materials in thermal insulation applications, where a combination of low thermal conductivity and high optical transparency is required. Aerogels also possess very good sound insulation properties.
The technology presented is a result of joint national research project with a major Greek manufacturer of fridges and cooling systems, refers to a process for the production of silica aerogels in monolithic form (e.g. tiles of specific dimensions), which have better optical transparency than those produced with current methods (about 90%). A high optical transparency is desirable in practice, because it allows for easy observation of objects through the aerogel. On the other hand a thermal conductivity 13 mW/mK is achieved.
The innovation in this production methodology lies in the utilisation of a new class of catalysts (based on an organic compound) for the formation of gels. Using these catalysts, production of extremely transparent silica aerogels is possible.
Transparent SiO2 aerogel tiles may be used as glazings in windows of buildings, in the glass doors of refrigerators and freezers, in solar applications (such as solar collectors, solar ponds and greenhouses) as well as for sound insulation applications (such as Hi-Fi speakers allowing for more innovative designs as it combines good sound insulation together with optical transparency) etc.

It has been estimated that the new tiles produced can improve the energy efficiency of commercial refrigerators and commercial freezers by reducing electricity consumption by ~35% and ~50-60% respectively and of buildings by reducing heat losses due to windows by ~50%.
  Current development phase The technology is already laboratory tested. Small-scale aerogel tiles with dimensions of 10cmx10cm have already been produced in the laboratory.
  Intellectual property rights:

An application for a Greek patent has already been submitted but not yet granted.

  Type of collaboration sought

License agreement