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Aerospace Nuclear Science & Technology
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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Advanced reactors: Now comes the hard part
Designing a reactor is complicated but building one may be harder. Even companies that have had lots of practice haven’t always done it well. And all the power reactors in service today were built by companies that had years of experience in other kinds of big steam-electric power plants. In contrast, some of the creative new designs now moving toward commercialization come from start-ups that have never built anything at all. How should they prepare?
Kimberly A. DeFriend, Brent Espinoza, Brian Patterson
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 51 | Number 4 | May 2007 | Pages 693-700
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST07-A1466
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The sol-gel methods applied in the synthesis of aerogels lead to the formation of a disordered silica network. The resulting aerogel has poor structural definition that leads to poor mechanical properties. The work presented details our efforts to create a new hierarchical mesoporous silica aerogel. These meso-porous aerogels were formed utilizing a templating technique using polystyrene beads with varying diameters, 50 nm to 2 m, dispersed during sol-gel polymerization. The resulting gel was super-critically dried creating a silica aerogel templated with polystyrene beads. The polystyrene beads were then thermal oxidized creating meso-porous silica aerogel monolith. The surface area, pore volume, pore diameter, and mechanical properties of the templated aerogels were determined. Interestingly the mechanical properties of the meso-porous aerogel were significantly improved. These improvements appear to be directly related to the polystyrene bead diameter and loading.