Aerogels are low-density solids with high open porosity and surface area which have a potential niche in high temperature thermal insulation. The classic route of synthesis involves two expensive processes, supercritical drying and high temperature imidization.
In this study, Nicholas Leventis and co-workers in the USA have described polyimide aerogels synthesized via a low temperature process through the rather underutilized reaction of dianhydrides with diisocyanates. These polyimide aerogels are compared with those obtained by the classic high-temperature amine route and are shown to be chemically identical but morphologically different. Overall, the isocyanate route has several distinct advantages over the classic route.
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