Catalytically Active Aerogel Material for Automotive Exhaust Mitigation Applications

Brad  Bruno, Mechanical Engineering Department, Union College

Catalytically Active Aerogel Material for Automotive Exhaust Mitigation Applications

Ann M. Anderson, Bradford A. Bruno, Mary K. Carroll

Aerogels are high surface area, low density, low thermal mass, nanoporous materials that are stable at high temperatures. Due to this unique combination of properties, aerogels have potential applications in a range of areas including sensing, insulation, comet dust collection and catalysis. We have developed a series of catalytically active aerogels which show activity as three-way catalysts. These materials are fabricated using a rapid supercritical extraction method (Gauthier et al. 2004). It is relatively easy to incorporate a variety of metals, including non-PGM metals such as nickel (Juhl et al. 2015), copper (Tobin et al. 2017) and ceria (Posada et al. 2019) into a silica- or alumina-based backbone. Through use of the Union Catalytic Aerogel Testbed, UCAT, an in-house designed catalytic test system (Bruno et al. 2016), we have demonstrated that these materials have three-way catalytic ability. UCAT tests catalytic material performance for conversion of NO, UHCs and CO over a range of temperatures from 200-700 C using a simulated exhaust gas mixture with and without air. This poster will review the various types of aerogel catalysts developed, their performance and the test procedures used for UCAT.


Gauthier, B. M., Bakrania, S. D., Anderson, A. M., & Carroll, M. K. (2004). A fast supercritical extraction technique for aerogel fabrication. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 350, 238-243.

Juhl, S. J., Dunn, N. J., Carroll, M. K., Anderson, A. M., Bruno, B. A., Madero, J. E., & Bono Jr, M. S. (2015). Epoxide-assisted alumina aerogels by rapid supercritical extraction. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 426, 141-149.

Tobin, Z. M., Posada, L. F., Bechu, A. M., Carroll, M. K., Bouck, R. M., Anderson, A. M., & Bruno, B. A. (2017). Preparation and characterization of copper-containing alumina and silica aerogels for catalytic applications. Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology, 84(3), 432-445.

Posada, L. F., Carroll, M. K., Anderson, A. M., & Bruno, B. A. (2019). Inclusion of Ceria in Alumina-and Silica-Based Aerogels for Catalytic Applications. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids. in Press,

Bruno, B. A., Anderson, A. M., Carroll, M., Swanton, T., Brockmann, P., Palace, T., & Ramphal, I. A. (2016). Benchtop scale testing of aerogel catalysts: preliminary results (No. 2016-01-0920). SAE Technical Paper.