Frozen Smoke
August 19, 2007 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Aerogel Update Originally posted back in '02 by adrianhon this crazy new material looks to be on the verge of mass production. Currently used in homes for insulation & for winter clothes that are too warm to wear, this is a truly amazing technology. Want to know how to make it? Want to buy some? Here is a pic to help you believe it's real. More here. Aspen Aerogel is currently in production.
posted by thekorruptor (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have they got the price down? Last time a few cubic centimeters were selling for over $100. The links you provided seems to say the same, and although it appears to be gaining popularity, I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe mass production is around the corner just yet.
posted by furtive at 9:53 AM on August 19, 2007


Very cool. Aerogel has long been in mass production, though, in things like aerogel supercapacitors (just not in cheap bulk as house insulation, I guess).
posted by hattifattener at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2007


What exactly is new about aerogel?
posted by polyhedron at 9:59 AM on August 19, 2007


If only it came in grape flavor I could make lighter than air PB&Js.
posted by wfrgms at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can we levitate this aerogel?
posted by ranchocalamari at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


What exactly is new about aerogel?

New? I'll tell you what's new! The amusing folksy monologues of young Will Rogers! But me, I like the visual slapstick gag. Like this amusingly oversized powderpuff! Play me off, Johnny!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:07 AM on August 19, 2007


aerogel invented in 1931
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:07 AM on August 19, 2007


I remember seeing this stuff on TV sometime in the 90s I think.
posted by delmoi at 10:27 AM on August 19, 2007


Silicon dioxide in the form of ordinary fine sand is a strong desiccant, and has novel interactions with materials like plaster of paris. (self link)

I'll bet aerogel exhibits even stronger desiccant action, due to its greater surface area. I'll bet that it would begin to smell like its environment after a while...
posted by Tube at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2007


If only it came in grape flavor I could make lighter than air PB&Js.

You could probably add grape flavorings pretty easily, based on the instructions.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on August 19, 2007


I'm pretty sure the glape fravorings would be heavier than air. Heavier than aerogel, at any rate.
posted by Eideteker at 10:47 AM on August 19, 2007


This stuff is relatively high on my list of things I need to make that retreat [a la Michael Caine's place in _Children of Men_] in the hinterlands a reality.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:01 AM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I stopped reading the Times article at "defend your home from bomb blasts". But splendid stuff, it seems.
posted by nowonmai at 11:03 AM on August 19, 2007


Tube, I thought the best way to do "orgone research" was to go have sex. Or something like tai chi, at least...both sex and tai chi together would be ideal research conditions.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:04 AM on August 19, 2007


(You can make aerogels out of stuff other than silica, by the way, "including alumina, tungsten oxide, cellulose, cellulose nitrate, tin oxide, gelatin, egg albumen, rubber and agar.". I assume you could take Jell-O and produce a flavored aerogel if you found a good way to exchange the solvent.)
posted by hattifattener at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2007


United Nuclear sells small samples of aerogel, although they appear to be sold out at the moment. The have lots of other cool science stuff, as well. I'm not affiliated with them in any way. I did buy a piece of aerogel from them a while back, though.

They are resisting the U.S. government's campaign to make everything from common laboratory glassware to the most basic chemicals found in nature illegal to buy, sell, and own, which makes them worth supporting, in my opinion.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2007


I'm pretty sure the glape fravorings would be heavier than air. Heavier than aerogel, at any rate.

Aerogel is heavier then air. In fact, it's air permeable.
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2007


There are a few videos up on YouTube of aerogel, but it seems like most of them are just voyeuristic shots of aerogel, only one of someone actually handling it. The "solid smoke" video comes complete with sleazy jazz.
posted by SassHat at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2007


I've got an orgone accumulator
It makes me feel greater
I'll see you sometime later
When I'm through with my accumulator
What?
posted by nowonmai at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2007


Well, I just hope Aerogel isn't the new asbestos.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2007


Tube, has your site ever been posted on the front page?
posted by Dataphage at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2007


New? I'll tell you what's new! The amusing folksy monologues of young Will Rogers! But me, I like the visual slapstick gag. Like this amusingly oversized powderpuff! Play me off, Johnny!

Can't you vultures show some respect?
posted by Talez at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2007


It is expected to rank alongside wonder products from previous generations such as Bakelite in the 1930s, carbon fibre in the 1980s and silicone in the 1990s.

HEY H(•)(•)TERS WITHOUT BACK STRAIN!
posted by rob511 at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2007


Tube, has your site ever been posted on the front page?

Erm, no, obviously it's verboten for me to do it myself, but I always figured that the subject of Bigfoot's dermal ridges was so esoteric that its appeal would be limited. But if you like it, please feel free to do so.
posted by Tube at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2007


Maybe I missed something, but which of those links suggests that Aerogel "looks to be on the verge of mass production?"
posted by sindark at 6:22 PM on August 19, 2007


When I want to blast-proof my house, I'll be using Starlite, thank you very much. Aerogel, hell, it doesn't even look like you can have sex with it.
posted by user92371 at 11:06 PM on August 19, 2007


Yeah, but... Will It Float?!

♪♫... ♪♫... ♪♫... ♪♫...
posted by anatinus at 1:42 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like how the last step in the "How to make" is "Supercritical Dry."

Easy as pie!
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 AM on August 20, 2007


Earlier this year Bob Stoker, 66, from Nottingham, became the first Briton to have his property insulated with aerogel. “The heating has improved significantly. I turned the thermostat down five degrees. It’s been a remarkable transformation,” he said.

Uh...what?
posted by ryanrs at 11:51 PM on August 20, 2007


(Oh, wait a sec. Maybe his house has poor air circulation and the thermostat is far away from the heater.)
posted by ryanrs at 12:00 AM on August 21, 2007


I won't buy any until it we have answered the most crucial question of all: Will it blend?
posted by buck09 at 2:03 PM on August 24, 2007


« Older Hurdy Gurdy! Hurdy Gurdy! Hurdy Gurdy!   |   The future of mass transit Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments