Aerogels are porous solids used in a wide range of energy and environmental applications including sorbents, filtration, insulation, hydrogen storage, catalysis, batteries, and supercapacitors due to their high internal surface, composition, and small pore/particle size. Two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials, such as boron nitride and graphene, also exhibit a range of distinct optical, electronic, and mechanical properties, but are typically limited to thin films and coatings.
Assembling 2D nanomaterials into monolithic aerogels expands their application space to include technologies and manufacturing processes that require a macroscopic 3D form factor. In addition, placing the novel intrinsic properties of 2D materials in a low-density, high surface area architecture has the potential to unlock exciting new properties and features only displayed in the aerogel system.
In this seminar, we demonstrate recent work on assembling and tailoring various properties of aerogels made from several different 2D materials, (e.g. boron nitride, graphene, dichalcogenides, etc.). In particular, methods of controlling the composition, crystallinity, textural properties, and macroscale architecture will be presented. Furthermore, synthesizing aerogels via 3D printing, which can mitigate the mass transport issues that plague aerogels by intelligently incorporating macroporous channels into the native nanoporous aerogel structure, has the potential to provide an even greater level performance for these hierarchical functional materials.
The impact of those changes on aerogel properties and performance in energy storage and environmental technologies will be discussed.