Chemistry Terms

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  • aerogels;
  • mesoporous materials;
  • microporous materials;
  • sol–gel processes;
  • zirconia


This contribution aims at evaluating different synthesis procedures leading to zirconia-based aerogels. A series of undoped and yttrium-doped zirconia aerogels have been prepared via hydrolysis and condensation reaction of different alkoxy- and different inorganic salt-based precursors followed by supercritical drying. Well-established but deleterious zirconium n-propoxide (TPOZ) or zirconium n-butoxide (TBOZ) were used as metal precursors in combination with acids like nitric acid and acetic acid as auxiliary agent for the generation of non-yttrium stabilized zirconia aerogels. Yttrium-stabilized zirconia aerogels as well as pure zirconia aerogels were obtained by the salt route starting from ZrCl4 and crosslinking agents like propylene oxide or acetylacetone. The characteristics of the products were analyzed by nitrogen adsorption measurements, electron microscopy, and X-ray scattering. It turned out that with respect to all relevant properties of the aerogels as well as the practicability of the synthesis procedures, approaches based on inexpensive non-toxic salt precursors are the methods of choice. The salt-based approaches allow not only for low-cost, easy-to-handle synthesis procedures with realizable gelation times of less than 60 seconds, but also delivered the products with the highest surface area (449 m2 g−1 for ZrCl4) within this series of syntheses.