June 17, 2020
Journal Article

Environmental remediation with functional aerogels and xerogels


Several different types of aerogel and/or xerogel scaffolds have been demonstrated as effective sorbents for the capture and immobilization of radionuclides in gaseous form [e.g., iodine gas or I2(g), Xe] as well as ionic form (e.g., Ce4+, Cs+, I–, IO3-, Rb+, Sr2+, 99Tc7+, and U6+). These scaffolds have unique properties, which include high specific surface areas, high pore volumes, varieties of pore sizes, and functionalities that provide methods for binding radionuclides through physisorption, chemisorption, or a combination thereof. This combination of properties and functionalities make these types of materials ideal scaffolds for use as sorbents for capturing radionuclides. The primary base materials that will be discussed in this chapter include Ag0-functionalized silica aerogels, Ag+-impregnated aluminosilicate aerogels, Ag0-functionalized aluminosilicate aerogels, metal-impregnated (non-Ag) aluminosilicate aerogels and xerogels, sulfide-based aerogels, and carbon-based aerogel composites. For the capture of I2(g), the materials reported herein show some of the highest iodine loadings ever reported for inorganic sorbents. For the capture of ionic species, these materials also show promise to be some of the next generations of materials for active radionuclide remediation. This progress report will describe how these materials are fabricated, the general properties of these materials, as well as an overview of how they have been used for different applications in environmental remediation of radionuclides.

Revised: October 5, 2020 | Published: June 17, 2020


Riley B.J., and S. Chong. 2020. Environmental remediation with functional aerogels and xerogels. Global Challenges 4, no. 10:2000013. PNNL-SA-151800. doi:10.1002/gch2.202000013