Aerogel as an Insulation Material

Aerogel as an Insulation Material

Aerogel is a unique material with astonishing properties. Let's explore what it is and why aerogel is so valued by insulation manufacturers.

What Is Aerogel

Aerogel is a gel in which the liquid component has been replaced with gas. It's something between a solid body and foam. Aerogel looks like solid transparent plastic or frozen smoke.

This unique structure is achieved by scientists through drying regular gel under critical parameters. As a result, the substance maintains its shape but becomes extremely light and porous.

Properties of Aerogel

The main advantage of aerogel is its record-low density (only 1.9 g/cm3) while having high mechanical strength. Aerogel consists of more than 90% air!

Moreover, this material has low thermal conductivity - 2-4 times less than other insulators. Aerogel is almost transparent to visible light and infrared radiation. It is non-flammable and resistant to chemical exposure.

Application of Aerogel as an Insulator

Thanks to its unique combination of properties, aerogel is actively used by manufacturers of insulation materials. Let's consider its use in construction and daily life.

In Construction

Aerogel is added to insulators based on polyurethane foam, polystyrene foam, mineral wool, and other materials. This allows reducing the thickness of the insulation several times without losing heat-protective properties.

Thin and strong plates with aerogel are ideal for insulating roofs, floors, facades of old buildings, where compactness and weight of the structure are important. They are actively used in the restoration of historical buildings.

In Daily Life

In refrigerators and freezers, transparent aerogel is used to improve the thermal insulation of glass doors. This helps to reduce the energy consumption of the appliances.

The use of aerogel in the form of granules for insulating clothing is promising. A thin layer of the material significantly increases the thermal protection properties of the fabric while maintaining its lightness and breathability.

Advantages of Aerogel as an Insulation Material

Compared to traditional insulators, aerogel has the following advantages:

  • 5-10 times lower thermal conductivity
  • Ability to create thin, yet effective insulation structures
  • High mechanical strength
  • Lightweight and flexibility
  • Environmental safety
  • Longevity, resistance to external impacts

As a result, insulation based on aerogel significantly saves energy resources for heating buildings.

Future Applications

Scientists are actively working on reducing the cost of producing aerogel, as well as expanding its application areas.

Particularly promising is the use of transparent aerogel for creating energy-efficient windows and translucent roofs. This will allow insulating the premises without blocking the access to sunlight.

Another promising direction is heat-reflective paints and wallpapers based on aerogel. They will "repel" infrared radiation, preventing heat from passing through the walls of the building.

Thus, the weightless and mysterious aerogel promises to be a real breakthrough in energy-saving technologies. With each passing year, we learn more about the amazing possibilities of this material of the future.