Postsynthetic modification of yttria-stabilized zirconia aerogels with silica coatings for enhanced thermal stability

Nathaniel S. Olson, Jamesa L. Stokes, Haiquan Guo, Frances I. Hurwitz, Richard B. Rogers, Nachiket Shah, Jessica A. Krogstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maintaining high surface area and porosity at high temperatures is important when considering aerogels for use in thermal management systems. The mesoporous structure of aerogels results in extremely low thermal conductivity, making them lightweight, high performance insulating materials. Maintaining these properties requires innovative routes to suppress sintering and pore collapse as use temperatures rise. The current work aims to improve the pore structure stability of yttria-stabilized zirconia aerogels by the addition of a SiO2 coating. The functionalization of surface hydroxyl groups by the addition of SiO2 is hypothesized to mitigate condensation reactions, which are a driving force for shrinkage and pore structure collapse. Zirconia aerogels with 0, 10, and 30 mol% yttria (YO1.5) additions were coated in a tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) solution and exposed to temperatures up to 1200°C. Crystal structure, pore structure, and aerogel morphology were investigated to understand changes in aerogel thermal stability. The SiO2 coating exhibited a greater influence on pore stability over yttria concentration, with specific surface area of the coated aerogels being twice that of the uncoated aerogels up to 1000°C. However, the presence of the SiO2 coating promoted rapid sintering and densification at 1200°C, establishing an upper use temperature for SiO2 and a need to develop other coating chemistries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • aerogel
  • porous ceramics
  • silica
  • thermal management
  • thermal stability
  • zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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