PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A scientist applies a blowtorch to a sample of aerogel. Aerogel is a new material which has very high thermal insulation properties and extremely low mass. It is made by adding alcohol to a conventional silica gel to remove water. The gel is then placed in a pressure chamber, and the alcohol removed under superfluid conditions. This prevents the gel from collapsing. The resulting block of silica fibres contains about 90% air, so is very lightweight. Aerogel is being studied as an insulating material and as a holding medium for nuclear fusion fuel. Photographed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA.
Model release not required. Property release not required.