Ren Lili, an associate professor in School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and her research group published their research paper named “An Easy Way To Prepare Monolithic Inorganic Oxide Aerogels” in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2014, Volume 53 (38), Pp10147-10149). In addition, they received a Letter of Congratulation from the editorial department of Angewandte Chemie, informing that their article was evaluated as “Very Important Paper (VIP)”. It is reported that only less than 5% of the manuscripts in this journal will receive such a positive evaluation.
Inorganic oxide aerogels have unique thermal, optical, electrical, magnetic, and chemical properties, which result in them potentially having a broad range of applications. However, their preparation is commonly based on a supercritical drying method, which greatly limits real applications of aerogels and their commercialization. Here Ren’s group demonstrated a general method for drying wet gels to form aerogels that was based on the sublimation of organic solvent. The organic solvent must have a low surface tension, undergo sublimation easily, and have a high freezing point to allow the rapid synthesis of monolithic inorganic oxide aerogels under vacuum conditions. This cost-effective process will facilitate application of aerogel materials. This approach may also be used for the preparation of other porous materials, whose theoretical and practical applications should be investigated.