Facts About Aerogel

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Aerogels are considered to be one of the lowest density materials ranging from 0.0011 to 0.5gm. The silica aerogel is three times heavier than air. Aerogels contain 95-99 percent air in volume. The lowest density aerogel is 99.98 percent  air in volume.

Fact 1. Aerogels can be made from silica including metal oxides such as iron oxide, organic polymers, biological polymers, carbon, and carbon nanotubes.

Fact 2. Silica aerogels are normally transparent with a blue color due to the Rayleigh scattering of short wavelengths of light off of the nanoparticles that constitute the framework of the aerogel.

Fact 3. Carbon aerogels have the distinction of being opaque and black while iron oxide aerogels are rust-colored.

Fact 4. Aerogels are dry as opposed to regular gels which are considered wet. The word ‘œaerogel’ is derived from the word ‘œaero’ meaning ‘œgas’ or ‘œvacuum’ in its structure as opposed to water and ‘œgel’ as in the normal gels.

Fact 5.  Aerogels, also known as ‘œfrozen smoke,’ have 15 Guinness Book of World Record entries.

Fact 6.  The original aerogels were different from the current ones. Being brittle, crumbling, and easily fractured they were excluded from practical applications.

Fact 7. NASA has discovered a new category of  robust polymer aerogels that can be applied in engineering applications such as super-insulated clothing and super-insulation for buildings.

Fact 8.  Aerogels were originally used in space travel during the 1960s.

Fact 9.  The chemical properties of aerogels include a low path of diffusion, high specific surface area, low thermal conductivity, low sound speed, refractive index, and dielectric constant.

Fact 10. Aerogels are also being converted into an insulation material for many structures including commercial buildings, oil  pipelines, and space probes as the insulation properties of aerogel is 40 times more effective than its nearest competitor, fiberglass.

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