Aerogel: World’s Lightest Solid
Aerogel: World’s Lightest Solid Advantages For Industry. Maybe some people have never heard of a material called aerogel. But of course not a few people have known or even seen this material directly. Yes, this article is discussing the solid but light aerogel. How is this possible? If you are interested, please go on reading this article!
Aerogel was first created by a chemist named Dr. Samuel Stephens Kistler. Dr. Kistler, who was studying at Stanford University, invented aerogel between the year of 1929 and 1930. Although the aerogel we know today is very light, the first aerogel invented by Dr. Kistler was very different. Aerogel version has high brittleness and is also expensive to manufacture. This is what led to the use of aerogel at that time only for laboratory purposes.
Jelly or Jelly-Like Appearance
The newest version of aerogel has a jelly or jelly-like appearance. But this material is not soft, but very dense. The surface is dry, intact, and densely porous. If the surface of the aerogel is touched, it will feel like when you touch a Styrofoam surface https://belensanhueza.com/ that is not soft.
So how come the aerogel can have such a light texture? In comparison, the density of aerogel is 1000 times looser than glass. Can you imagine how different it is? This is because the structure of the aerogel is 99.8 percent empty space of its total volume. Remarkably, with this fact the aerogel can withstand the heat of a welding torch whose heat can reach 1300 degrees Celsius and can withstand a direct explosion of one kilogram of dynamite.
How Are Aerogel Made?
As the name aerogel clearly states, this material uses gel as its main ingredient. The characteristic of the gel is that this material has properties like a liquid, and other properties are like a solid. The pore size is 1000 to 1 million smaller than a kitchen sponge.
The gel then undergoes a drying process to remove the water content contained in it. After the drying process is complete, the next process is to replace the water content with air. The process of extracting water from the gel is carried out by the Supercritical Drying process. This process can remove water from the gel without damaging the gel itself. This process is carried out in a pressure vessel with an accurate critical pressure and temperature.
The Use of Aerogel
When the aerogel was first commercialized in 1950, this material had a major function in the coating industry, flatting and military to civilian fields such as the Napalm jelly bomb thickener.
In addition, aerogel also functions in the space sector. Aerogel has a function to capture dust particles on a mission to comet Wild 2.
Other benefits arise due to the hydrophobic nature of this material. Aerogel can be used to clean beaches that are contaminated with oil spills. The hydrophobic nature of this material will make it able to absorb spilled oil very well. With this method, a lot of potential can be contributed if the use of aerogel to deal with oil pollution in the sea is carried out effectively.