Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. Aydin Sunol.

Co-Major Professor

Dr. John Wolan


Sol-gel, Aging, Extraction and drying, Impregnation, Calcination, Functionalization, Porosity, Surface area


The strength, thermal stability, pore structure and morphology are keys to success for wider deployment of aerogels. Furthermore, co or subsequent functionalization of the surfaces are equally, if not more important. This study addresses these issues through a new method. The path involves successful use of surfactant templating, supercritical extraction and drying, and supercritical fluid aided functionalization of the surface. Alumina support and alumina supported nickel catalyst particles are used to evaluate the approach. Initially thermally stable surfactant alumina was synthesized. The surfactant template was removed completely with the aid of a supercritical solvent mixture. Surfactant-templated alumina aerogel showed remarkable thermal stability and gave specific surface area above 500m2/g both before and after calcination. The alumina support is subsequently impregnated with nickel.