National University of Singapore,
Keywords: polyethylene terephthalate, aerogel, recycled waste materials
Summary:Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fiber aerogel were successfully invented from recycled PET fibers obtained from plastic bottles and using various cross linkers such as tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) and/or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and/or glutaraldehyde (GA). Recycled PET aerogels were obtained through the ambient pressure drying or freeze drying processes. In order to dissolve and functionalize the fibers, recycled PET fibers were treated with dichloromethane or any alkaline/acid solution and neutral condition with the use of water or steam (pH=7). Then the final PET aerogels can be fabricated.The developed PET aerogels showed low density (0.018-0.345 g/cm3), super-hydrophobicity (140.4-149.9o), low thermal conductivity (0.033-0.047 W/mK), high oil absorption (12.5-49.5 g/g) and very elastic (compressive Young’s moduli, 0.87-4.98 kPa). This technology provides an approach to fabricate cost-effective and promising PET aerogels used for several applications such as thermal insulation and absorption applications.