A macromolecular assembly directed ceramic aerogel monolith material†
Ceramic aerogels exhibit remarkable thermal insulation for energy efficient building applications, while it is indispensable to understand their nanoporous structure evolution to control their thermal regulation performance. In this study, we design and synthesize a lightweight porous silica aerogel monolithic material, and demonstrate its thermal insulation performance regulated by the morphology of porous nanostructures controlled by surfactant induced self-assembly. The micelle networks and in situ gas bubble formation guide the formation of uniform pores in the as-synthesized monolith, which shows superior thermal and acoustic insulation and robust mechanical stability with a thermal conductivity of 0.032 W m−1 K−1, a soundproof performance improvement by 17% at a frequency of 800 Hz, and a 1.3 MPa compressive strength with a Young's modulus of 15 MPa. These findings provide a new route to manufacture low-cost aerogel monolithic insulation materials for energy efficient building applications.