Aerogel materials manufactured from metal oxides have been used as components in numerous high-energy density physics targets. These aerogels have been identified to be used as a future target material in the AWE fielded campaigns at the US National Ignition Facility. A wide variety of metal oxide aerogels are required for future campaigns and therefore a versatile manufacturing route is sought; as such, an epoxide-assisted sol–gel route was investigated. Under the European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals legislation, the most commonly used epoxide, propylene oxide, is recognized as a substance of very high concern (SVHC). This work sought to investigate suitable alternative epoxides for use in target manufacture. The outcome was the identification of synthesis routes for stable metal oxide aerogel monoliths using epoxides not subject to the above restrictions.
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