Aluminosilicate aerogels offer potential for extremely low thermal conductivities at temperatures greater than 900°C, beyond where silica aerogels reach their upper temperature limits. Aerogels have been synthesized at various Al:Si ratios, including mullite compositions, using Boehmite (AlOOH) as the Al source, and tetraethoxy orthosilicate as the Si precursor. The Boehmite-derived aerogels are found to form by a self-assembly process of AlOOH crystallites, with Si-O groups on the surface of an alumina skeleton. Morphology, surface area and pore size varies with the crystallite size of the starting Boehmite powder, as well as with synthesis parameters.
Ternary systems, including Al-Si-Ti aerogels incorporating a soluble Ti precursor, are possible with careful control of pH. The addition of Ti influences sol viscosity, gelation time pore structure and pore size distribution, as well as phase formation on heat treatment.