Aerogels as high-performance aggregates for lightweight concrete – working principle and possible areas of use

Aerogels have superior thermal insulation properties and are permanently hydrophobic. In a research project, a lightweight concrete was developed that provides significantly enhanced heat insulation properties compared to air-insulated lightweight concrete.

Macroporous lightweight concretes whose insulation effect relies on the ratio of air voids within the material are subject to physical limitations that have largely been exhausted by currently used building materials. One of the options to achieve a quantum leap in the thermal performance provided by lightweight concrete is to use aerogels as concrete aggregates. Hydrophobic aerogel particles have a thermal conductivity that amounts to just 50 % of the thermal conductivity of air. Silica aerogels that are predominantly used for this purpose are composed of a mineral grid and have a pore volume...

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