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GBlist: Re: Aerogel Technology


Thank you, I was curious about the status of work on aerogels. My
interest is in the use of organic aerogels as a structural material with
high thermal resistance and low toxicity. I hope you don't mind if I
post this the the GBlist as I know there was some interest in aerogels.

Glazing applications are probably the most promising. Current glazing
technology is crude in the sense that its usage is dependent it meeting
two basic criteria; transparency and thermal efficiency. The base
product can only meet one of those criteria so the industry will always
be adding elements to meet the basic criteria. If the base material can
incorporate both criteria it could inevitably replace standard glass.

Insulating materials can be viewed similarly. I would say that
insulative functions have replaced structural properties as the critical
element of a wall assembly and so things like foam panels which try and
incorporate high insulative properties with structural elements have
become increasingly popular. 

Plastic foams are not that good for what they are in the sense that
their thickness compromises their stability over time. The base material
for vinyl's, a benzene polymer is highly toxic in our environment. This
toxicity is not viewed that seriously as it is a hidden element but it
seems that the base element of most chemical sensitivities is within
this group and so will at some point become a more generalized human
health concern (which always seems more of a political motivator than
general environmental health concerns).

This is the extent of my thoughts on aerogels. I hope there is a future
for aerogels and other ceramic applications but if any more factories
blow up it might be long in coming.

Thanks again,

John Salmen

Fennelly, Richard wrote:
>  For John Salmen:
>  I saw your recent posting on GBlist:aerogel.  I've been following
> this
> area for the last several years since Akzo Nobel has two US patents
> (and
> corresponding Canadian patents) covering the generic process of using
> supercritical CO2 to make aerogels.  Thermalux went bankrupt several
> years ogo, but there seems to be imminent commercial activities by
> Hoechst,  Matsushita Electric, and possibly others in regard to
> aerogel
> uses in insulation, for example.  On Sept 8-10,  the 5th International
> Symposium on Aerogelds will be held in Montpellier, FR.  If you wish,
> call me at 914-674-5464 , and I'd be happy to tell you a bit more and
> also find out what you may know about this very interesting field.
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