At about $23,000 per pound, aerogel is currently more expensive than gold [source: NASA JPL, FAQs]! Such a valuable product would seem to belong next to the diamonds and pearls in an heiress’s jewelry box. But aerogel is more likely to be found insulating a rocket or thickening paint than adorning wealthy socialites.
Why are aerogels expensive?
Aerogel preparation involves expensive precursors, chemicals, and the need for supercritical drying, making the production relatively more expensive compared to the current conventional building insulations.
What are the disadvantages of aerogels?
Disadvantages: Increased density (typically about one-third to one-half the density of water) Decreased clarity (from translucent to foggy to opaque) Decreased surface area (by about half)
Is aerogel the best insulation?
Aerogel Insulation Technology
Classed as a Super Insulation, Aerogel has the highest insulation value of any known material with the lowest thermal conductivity value of any solid (0.015W/mK).
What is so special about aerogel?
Aerogels provide very effective insulation, because they are extremely porous and the pores are in the nanometer range. The nano pores aren’t visible to the human eye. The existence of these pores makes the aerogel so adept at insulating.
Can you insulate a house with aerogel?
Contractors are already using the new aerogels to insulate homes that are sealed from the outside, both over masonry and under shingles, Ceramics.org reports. “On wood frame homes, thin strips of aerogel can be applied to studs to prevent what’s called thermal bridging, where heat escapes through the walls’ framing.”
Can aerogel stop a bullet?
Strong Enough To Stop a Bullet in its Track
To collect these delicate particles, each smaller than a grain of sand, aerogel will gradually slow them to a stop without damaging them or altering their shape and chemical composition.
How long does aerogel last?
The results show that for the different investigated materials, the increase in the thermal conductivity over the pristine conditions is typically below 10% for aging exposure corresponding to 20 years in typical conditions.
Why is aerogel not used?
Such factors make Aerogel very light, making mass conduction impossible. Secondly, Aerogel has extremely tiny pores, typically between 2-50 nm in diameter. These pores are so small that it is difficult for the air to diffuse through the material and transfer the convective heat.
Can you breathe through aerogel?
Most of the particulate released during aerogel handling was respirable. This means the particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Many participants who handled aerogel insulation reported upper respiratory tract irritation, or very dry or chapped skin.
How much does aerogel insulation cost?
We estimate that in the U.S. the cost of a 10 mm thick aerogel blanket of R-4 per 10 mm will be between $2.50- $3.00/ft2 in the near future.
What is the R-value of aerogel?
According to InspectAPedia.com, the R-Value of aerogel is 10.3 per inch versus rigid fiberglass, which has an R-Value of 4 per inch. The R-Value, or resistance value, of insulation measures to what degree insulation resists the flow of heat through an insulation material.
What is the thinnest insulation with the highest R-value?
Aerogel insulation offers the highest R-value of any insulating material at less weight and thickness—ideal for construction, refineries, pipelines, and thin-gap thermal barriers.
Is aerogel fireproof?
The low density and high porosity ensure a low thermal conductivity of 24 mW m−1 K−1, which is significantly lower than that of commercial insulation materials like EPS. The unique binary network microstructure endows the aerogel excellent fire resistance.
Is aerogel toxic?
Most aerogel blankets, particles, and monoliths are based on silica aerogel, which is comprised of synthetic amorphous silica. As a substance, synthetic amorphous silica has been found to not be harmful to humans—it is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
Can you make aerogel at home?
It is possible to make aerogels, including silica aerogels, without supercritical drying–in fact, using evaporative drying techniques. Not only that, you can make silica aerogel monoliths with high transparency, low density, and superinsulating abilities without supercritical drying.