Aerogel – The building material of the future


Aerogel_hand

 

UPDATED (19/11/2011): There is a lighter material than aerogel! It is named “ultralight metallic microlattice”, currently flaunted as the lightest material on Earth! View the full news article here: Click! 

 

About Aerogel

 

Aerogel is a synthetic porous material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. The result is a solid with extremely low density and thermal conductivity. Aerogels are almost completely composed by gas!

 

Properties of Aerogel:

  • Extremely low densities (can be made lighter than air!)
  • Excellent heat insulation properties
  • Prone to shattering
  • Hydrophilic (generally)

Note: There are many types of aerogel. e.g. silica, carbon, alumina, etc.

 

Pictures from aerogel.org

aerogel 1
A tile of silica aerogel supporting a brick over 2000x its weight
aerogel 2
Silica aerogel tile insulating matches from the heat of a blow torch

 

aerogel 3

You can learn how to make Aerogel here + its a great site for information on Aerogel: http://www.aerogel.org/

You can buy Aerogel here to play with or just be fascinated by it: http://www.buyaerogel.com/

Book on Aerogel (For the interested): Aerogels Handbook (Advances in Sol-Gel Derived Materials and Technologies)

 

I found a video on the production of aerogel at home:

 

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