Dr Khaled Saoud’s thermal resistant aerogel granted US patent

VCUarts Qatar Professor, Dr Khaled Saoud was recently honoured by Qatar Foundation (QF) for an innovation in nanotechnology that was also granted a US patent.

Dr Khaled Saoud
Dr Khaled Saoud

QF recognised Dr Saoud’s achievement at a virtual QF Innovation Showcase titled ‘Empowering Innovation’ where his invention – a cost-effective rapid fabrication method to produce ultra-light and mechanically robust silica thermo-resistant aerogel material – was part of the Wall of Innovation that displayed the 70-odd international patents granted to various researchers of Qatar Foundation over the years.

Dr Saoud – who, incidentally, is the first faculty member from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) to be granted a patent for an innovation – also received a Patent Plaque commemorating this specific achievement in research, from QF.

Dr Saoud, who admitted to being fascinated by the applications of nanotechnology in daily life, said that the innovation was a direct result of twenty-odd years of research into nanotechnology, including his investigations at VCUarts Qatar.

The possibilities are immense. In this case, the aerogel that has been patented was created by manipulating nanoparticles to create porous material (pore size 2-50 nm), which can be used as a thermal insulation coating which can be applied or sprayed onto surfaces, preventing infrared rays or heat from passing through.

He said that aerogels are good thermal insulators because they can block heat transfer (convection, conduction, and radiation) as they are composed almost entirely of air, an inferior heat conductor.

Furthermore, the material developed in the laboratory, according to Dr Saoud, has promising applications across fields such as fire protection of structures, internal combustion engines, aerospace, footwear, clothing for extremely cold conditions, and resin for 3D printing.

For instance, when applied on the external surfaces of a building, it is able to deflect heat rays from passing through surfaces such as doors, windows, and walls – allowing indoor temperatures to be maintained at lower energy costs. The product – when it is eventually available in the market – will help architects and builders design energy-saving residences and structures.

Dr Saoud’s aerogel innovation has been officially granted the status of patent number US 9, 745, 439 B1 by United States Patent, and the patent is in the name of VCUarts Qatar. He was assisted by Dr Shaukat Saeed, a research associate from Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The VCUarts Qatar physicist had already been granted patents for other innovations developed during his tenure as a researcher at Phillip Morris USA, and his alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

‘Empowering Innovation’ is a two-day virtual event organised by QF Research Development and Innovation (QF RDI) Office of Industry Development and Knowledge Transfer (IDKT), featuring worldwide patents granted to Qatar Foundation inventors in recent years.

For more information on Dr Saoud’s research, or to learn more about VCUarts Qatar, visit qatar.vcu.edu