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- story by MaterialDistrict
Cabot aerogel is a family of highly porous, hydrophobic, high surface area amorphous silica particles or granules. Aerogel is a hydrophobic amorphous silica product that is chemically similar to common fumed silica products. The most significant differences are that aerogel has larger aggregate sizes, higher surface areas and larger pore volumes, and is produced in a sol gel manufacturing process.
The highly porous structure of aerogel allows light to diffuse throughout a daylighting system.
Translucent aerogel granules have a particle size distribution of 1 to 3 millimeters. Aerogel is a highly porous open structure with an average pore size of ~20 nanometers. This pore size is smaller than the mean free path of air which greatly restricts gas conduction and convection inside the particles. It is this feature that makes aerogel a poor conductor of thermal energy, and is therefore a great thermal insulator.
The material is mainly used for cosmetics, industrial isolation, building isolation, and daylighting applications.