Aerogel, Synthetic Ultralight Material

Aerogel, Synthetic Ultralight Material

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Credit: LBNL/Science Source/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A hand holding a magnet to an aerogel sample. 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 thermal conductivity. It is nicknamed frozen smoke, solid smoke, solid air or blue smoke owing to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) to the touch. Aerogels are the lightest existing solid materials (an ounce of aerogel has the surface area of 10 football fields) and they have exceptional insulating properties. Scientists at Berkeley lab studied aerogels potential in a wide range of applications including energy-efficient insulation and windows, acoustics, battery technology and microelectronics. NASA used aerogel to trap space dust particles aboard the Stardust spacecraft. The particles vaporize on impact with solids and pass

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Keywords: 1990s, 1993, 20th century, aerogel, april 5, april 5th, blue smoke, energy efficient, frozen smoke, hand, insulating, insulation, insulator, lawrence berkeley national laboratory, lbnl, lightest existing solid material, lightweight, magnet, sample, science, solid air, solid smoke, synthetic material, synthetic porous ultralight material, technological, technology, thermal insulation, translucent

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