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Aerogels: TRANSPARENT HARDNESS

 

Another material of the future, which can be touched today – airgel. This material was based on a gel in which the liquid ingredients completely replaced by gas. As a result, at a record low density aerogels possess a unique combination of properties – high strength, Heat-resistant spine and transparency. Scientists often refer to this unique material, “frozen cigarette smoke” – is about the impression he makes when the light passes through it.

The honor of the invention, a material which will change the future of mankind, by the American chemist Steven Kistler and college in Stockton, California. Back in 1931, he first tried to replace the liquid in the gel on the gas, methanol, and then heat the gel to a critical gas temperature – 240 degrees Celsius. As a result of methanol coming out of the gel, not decreasing in volume, and the gel is “dry”, not nearly cowering.

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Airgel sample today is a porous material in which the cavity covers about 90-99%. Airgel structure is a tree network of nanoparticles less than 5 nm. The most common today is the development based on amorphous silicon dioxide, and oxides of chromium and tin. In the 1990s, scientists were able to get the first models based on carbon.

Quartz is the most perfect aerogels, which is 500 times lower than the density of water, and 1.5 times is air. Aerogel can withstand a load of 2,000 times its own weight. In some experiments a piece of air gel weighing only 2.5 grams supports the weight of a brick weighing 2.5 kg.

Silica aerogels allowing the natural light, but retain heat. In the U.S., they have already begun to be used in construction as insulation materials.