Development and characterization of an aerogel–graphite polyurethane spray-foam composite

U. Berardi
Ryerson University,

Keywords: aerogel-graphite, spray-foam, composite, building materials


Studies on insulating materials with extremely low thermal conductivity are increasingly being performed to respond to the global demand for greater energy savings. With this ongoing effort, aerogels and aerogel-enhanced materials have attracted growing attention. Aerogel is a super-insulating material with an extremely low thermal conductivity (99%), and extremely low density. In this study, a new closed-cell spray polyurethane (PU) foam with aerogel was developed and investigated. In particular, a PU foam with aerogel and graphite (PUAG) was prepared by mixing aerogel for reducing the thermal conductivity of the foam and a small concentration of graphite for improving its flame-retardancy performance. The performance of the prepared PUAG was analyzed via several tests, including density measurements, thermal-conductivity measurements, morphology examination, flame-retardancy evaluation, thermogravimetric analysis, and dynamic heat transfer analysis. A 20% reduction in the thermal conductivity compared with traditional PU was observed. Additionally, the PUAG exhibited a significant reduction in the smoke production rate and a 10% reduction in the surface peak temperature.