Product Review

Silica Aerogel Nearing Commercialization

Silica aerogel is a very light, highly porous form of silica that is 97% air. Cabot makes it by producing a hydrogel that is treated to make it hydrophobic before drying at atmospheric pressure. “Imagine a Jello® made from sand, then getting rid of the water—you’re left with a solid foam with cells so tiny they prevent air molecules from transferring heat to their neighbors,” explained Litrun. While early efforts to produce silica aerogels focused on a monolithic end-product that made for great press photos, Cabot has focused on a less glamorous but more practical

granular product. The granular aerogel can be poured into a translucent glazing panel and packed to prevent settling; in this way, problems of cracking that occurred with the monolithic aerogel products are eliminated. The density of the material is just 6.5 lb/ft

Published July 1, 2002

(2002, July 1). Silica Aerogel Nearing Commercialization. Retrieved from