Cover Image, Volume 129, Issue 3


original image

Freeze-drying (lyophilization) is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries because of its safety and minimal effect on both the product and the environment. In the study by Yuxin Wang et al. on page 1637, clay aerogels and poly(vinyl alcohol)/clay aerogels are prepared via an environmentally friendly freeze-drying process. Various freezing temperatures contribute to different ice crystal sizes and propagation rates, therefore influencing their morphology and mechanical properties. In the image, clay aerogels exhibit layered, ice-templated structures. This new information on the relationship between freezing conditions and compressive mechanical properties in clay and polymer/clay aerogels provides practical knowledge for commercial exploitation.