A team at the University of Singapore developed a unique technique to upcycle metal waste into Aerogels
Posted By : Abhijeet Singh | Date : Jun 1 2021 2:02 PM
There is a growing demand for metal products. To provide, as environmentally friendly as possible, the raw materials used for manufacturing the metal products, it is crucial to encourage sustainable processes for recycling metal waste to reduce the environmental impact of metals in the economy.
Traditional methods for recycling metal waste are energy-intensive, and some of them emit toxic by-products like ammonia and methane, as is often the case when recycling aluminium. To address this issue, a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed a novel environmentally friendly method for transforming aluminium and magnesium waste into high-value, multi-functional aerogels.
Professor Duong and his team make this technological breakthrough from their earlier achievements by developing aerogel using various waste types including plastics, textiles, paper, pineapple leaves, and other foodstuffs and agricultural waste.
Let’s get a sound idea of how the technique works!
The metal-aerogels have been produced using a simple fabrication process.
1. At first, the metal waste is powdered, then mixed with chemicals called cross-linkers.
2. The mixture is heated in the oven, frozen, and then freeze-dried to create the aerogel.
3. The procedure varies somewhat depending on the type of metal waste involved.
4. In comparison to conventional methods, the processing of powdered metal waste into aerogels takes one to three days on average.
Speaking about their technique, Duong Hai-Minh, Associate Professor, researcher, and team lead, specified that the metal-based aerogels are produced using a novel fabrication technique, imparting aerogels with high mechanical and heat stability, the properties well-suited for creating heat and sound insulation.
“We are also exploring new uses for such aerogels, such as biomedical applications”, Duong Hai-Minh added.