The musings of an Architect going about his daily business – life, design, the everyday are never as mundane as they may seem!

Aerogel

Aerogel – also referred to as ‘Frozen Smoke’, ‘Solid Smoke’, ‘Solid Air’, ‘Solid Cloud’ and “Blue Smoke’ owing to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material. Aerogel is a synthetic porous ultralight 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 low thermal conductivity. It can be made from a variety of chemical compounds.

Aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid in “jellies” with gas without causing shrinkage.

Aerogel is not a single material with a set chemical formula, instead the term is used to group all materials with a certain geometric structure and despite the name, aerogels are solid, rigid, and dry materials that do not resemble a gel in their physical properties.

Aerogel is a great insulator, for instance, you can lay a flower on a piece of aerogel and heat from below with a blowtorch and the flower will not burn!

This material has an unbelievable surface area within their internal fractal structures. A cube with 2.54 cm dimension of this material has an equivalent internal surface area of an entire football field.