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Aerogel


The Aerogel is a very light and solid substance, like a gel whose liquid component has been replaced by gas. The result is a translucent and transparent material, composed by 90-99.8% air and having many particular properties; the most important one is its thermal insulation, that made them famous because of their use in the space probes sent to Mars. Commercial Aerogels, in fact, have a thermal conductivity of about 0,013-0,018 W/mK, making them the best thermal insulating materials in the world. The formation of these materials, in general, involves two major steps, the formation of a wet gel, and the drying of the wet gel to form an Aerogel. Steven Kistler of the College of the Pacific Stockton, California was the first who understood, in the 1931, the necessity to operate in supercritical conditions in order to avoid the collapse of the solid structure. Aerogel materials can be produced as monoliths, thin-films, powders, or micro-spheres to respond to given application requirements. There are three major types of Aerogels: inorganic, organic and carbon; Silica one are the most famous. Aerogels by themselves are hydrophilic (so much that can act as a strong desiccant), but chemical treatment can make them hydrophobic. Their remarkable thermal insulation property depends on the almost abatement of three methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and radiation. The most insulating Aerogel is the Silica Aerogel with Carbon added to it, which can insulate up to -200°C and which melts at 3000°C. Aerogels are also the lightest solids in the world having typical densities of 3-150 mg/cm³; in their purest form they can even float on air.

Gze has used this material aslo in the garments thank's to the development of the Aerogel Design System , a special padding thermo-isolating padding, made with aerogel.

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