Comparison of Different Aerogel Granules for Use as Aggregate in Concrete
In previous work of this group, a structural lightweight concrete was developed by embedding silica aerogel granules in a high-strength cement matrix. This concrete, called high-performance aerogel concrete (HPAC), is a lightweight building material characterized by its simultaneous high compressive strength and very low thermal conductivity. Besides these features, high sound absorption, diffusion permeability, water repellence and fire resistance qualify HPAC as an interesting material for the construction of single-leaf exterior walls without any further insulation. During the development of HPAC, the type of silica aerogel was found to majorly influence both fresh and hardened concrete properties. To clarify these effects, a systematic comparison of SiO2 aerogel granules with different levels of hydrophobicity as well as different synthesis methods was conducted in the present study. The granules were analyzed for their chemical and physical properties as well as their compatibility in HPAC mixtures. These experiments included determinations of pore size distribution, thermal stability, porosity, specific surface and hydrophobicity, as well as fresh/hardened concrete experiments such as measurements of compressive strength, flexural bending strength, thermal conductivity and shrinking behavior. It was found that the type of aerogel has a major influence on the fresh and hardened concrete properties of HPAC, particularly compressive strength and shrinkage behavior, whereas the effect on thermal conductivity is not very pronounced.