Aerogel is a high-tech material that has been created for use in missions to space. It has now landed in the earthly home as insulation. This innovation of material is created in the labs of Aspen Aerogels. The company designs and produces various insulation materials for industrial applications. They originally started by just selling their patented air-filled aerogel blankets to make existing buildings more energy efficient.
According to AA’s site, “Aerogels are made by removing the liquid from gels, resulting in a material that is more than 90 percent air. The porous structure of that nanomaterial makes it difficult for heat to pass through. As a result, aerogels make very good and light-weight insulators.” However, because of the advance processing the cost of the finish product is higher than normal insulators. This causes for aerogels to be only used in high end industrial projects like oil and gas pipelines. This technology was also used in the building of the Spacecraft used to transport rovers to Mars.
Currently companies have begun to produce and sale thinner blankets to compete with traditional fiberglass and foam insulators. The price point is still somewhat higher than the others but improved efficiency and maintenance make this worth the price.