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crayons on top of the aerogel are protected from the flame underneath, and are not melting

Aerogels

This photo illustrates the excellent insulating properties of aerogel. The crayons on top of the aerogel are protected from the flame underneath, and are not melting.
Credit: NASA

It is nicknamed "frozen smoke" and "blue smoke", due to its semi-transparent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like Styrofoam to the touch.

Aerogel is not like conventional foams, but is a special material with porosity on a micron scale. It is composed of individual features only a few nanometers in size. Aerogels are 99.8% air.

Source Wikipedia and JPL

Aerogels are remarkable thermal insulators. Their high surface areas also make them useful in manufacturing sensors and filters Aerogels are currently used in many industries and applications including:

Space
Transportation
Construction
Appliances
Outdoor gear
Catalysts
Sensors
Air/Water Purification

Aerogel links

History of Silica Aerogels

Hubert's aerogel page

Time article

'Frozen Smoke'

Aspen Aerogels

Aerogel Composite

What is Aerogel?

 

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