What is Aerogel?
Developed by NASA, Aerogel is the lightest solid known to exist.
Developed by NASA, Aerogel (Silica Aerogel to be precise) is made from Silicon Dioxide, the same material as ordinary glass, only it is 1,000 times less dense. A truly remarkable material,
It holds an unbelievable 15 entries in the Guinness Book of World Records, including best insulator and lowest density solid. Composed of amorphous Silicon Dioxide and 99.8% air, its melting point is 2,200 degrees F (1,200 degrees C). Being the world's lightest known solid, it weighs only three times that of air (with a density of just 3 milligrams per cubic centimeter). When handled, Aerogel feels like a very light, hard foam. Being chemically similar to glass, it also happens to shatter like glass, yet is incredibly strong structurally, and can support thousands of times its own weight. Theoretically, a block weighing less than a pound could support a weight of half a ton. Due to its microstructure, Aerogel is a powerful desiccant, rapidly absorbing any moisture in your fingertips when held. This usually leaves some dry spots on the skin that disappear in a short time. Aerogel's true strength is its incredible insulating properties. It negates just about any kind of energy transfer - thermal, electrical or acoustic. A one-inch thick Aerogel window has the same insulation value as 15 panes of glass and trapped air - which means a conventional window would have to be ten-inches thick to equal a one-inch thick Aerogel window.
Aerogel was used by NASA in the Stardust mission, to collect comet & interstellar dust samples & return them to Earth. It was also used in the Pathfinder Rover to insulate its components from the harsh temperatures found on the surface of Mars.
The one drawback about this amazing material is its price. Unfortunately it's very expensive in solid block (monolithic) form and very difficult to obtain. Aerogel in granular form though is much more affordable. It also has the advantage of being much more useful and unlike the block form, can be poured to fill voids. Customers have used it as an insulation material inside jackets and in-between two panels of glass for the roof of a greenhouse - which allows light to enter but little heat to escape. Our Granulated Silica Aerogel is available in quantities from 120cc (about a 4 ounce jar) to a large 5 gallon buckets. Particle size averages about 2 mm.
Due to its extreme light weight, it is sold by volume and not weight
( Material Safety Data Sheet )