Synthesis of high strength monolithic alumina aerogels at ambient pressure†
Alumina aerogels have many fascinating properties, such as high temperature stability and high surface area, which result in them having great potential applications. However, their mechanical properties are very poor, which greatly limits their practical application and commercialization. In this communication we successfully synthesized monolithic alumina aerogels via ambient pressure drying by using attapulgite (ATP) as a reinforcing agent. The resulting attapulgite/alumina composite aerogels exhibit strong mechanical properties. TEM/SEM analysis showed that alumina particles firmly adhered to the surface of the rod shaped crystal of attapulgite and attapulgite played a supporting role as the skeleton in the structure of the composite aerogels.