DOI: 10.1002/smll.202307602 ISSN: 1613-6810

Biomimetic Transparent Layered Tough Aerogels for Thermal Superinsulation and Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Zhenyu Hu, Xiaoyu Zhang, Qi Sun, Puzhong Gu, Xing Liang, Xiao Yang, Muxiang Liu, Jia Huang, Guangming Wu, Guoqing Zu
  • Biomaterials
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry


Transparent aerogels are ideal candidates for thermally insulating windows, solar thermal receivers, electronics, etc. However, they are usually prepared via energy‐consuming supercritical drying and show brittleness and low tensile strength, significantly restricting their practical applications. It remains a great challenge to prepare transparent aerogels with high tensile strength and toughness. Herein, biomimetic transparent tough cellulose nanofiber‐based nanocomposite aerogels with a layered nanofibrous structure are achieved by vacuum‐assisted self‐assembly combined with ambient pressure drying. The nacre‐like layered homogeneous nanoporous structures can reduce light scattering and effectively transfer stress and prevent stress concentration under external forces. The aerogels exhibit an attractive combination of excellent transparency and hydrophobicity, high compressive and tensile strengths, high toughness, excellent machinability, thermal superinsulation, and wide working temperature range (−196 to 230 °C). It is demonstrated that they can be used for superinsulating windows of buildings and high‐efficient thermal management for electronics and human bodies. In addition, a prototype of transparent flexible aerogel‐based triboelectric nanogenerator is developed. This work provides a promising pathway toward transparent tough porous materials for energy saving/harvesting, thermal management, electronics, sensors, etc.

More from our Archive