An alternative to the sintering process in densifying aerogels is the compaction by isostatic compression at room temperature. A porosimeter is used to compress the aerogel and to measure the amplitude of the shrinkage. We focus our study on the time dependent mechanisms such as densification kinetics and relaxation effects. These two mechanisms respectively increase or decrease the total densification. The densification kinetics is followed by the evolution of the volumetric shrinkage and stiffening with time. Hydroxylated and esterified aerogels show almost the same shrinkage evolution but the hydroxylated aerogels stiffen during compaction while the elastic bulk modulus of esterified aerogels decreases. Shrinkage is due to two opposing mechanisms: formation of new siloxane bonds that freeze the strained network, but also breakage of links between clusters which allows the restructuring of the solid phase. Relaxation is caused by the disentanglement of the clusters when the pressure is released (40% of the shrinkage can be recovered). However, if during the compression run a large quantity of siloxane bonds are formed, relaxation is not observed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry
- Elastic properties