Recently, building and design industries have been curious as to what new material innovation will next emerge. Well, the building material of the future may be aerogel. Unlike the name, aerogel is a porous and synthetic material that is derived from a form of gel. The process in which this innovative material is formed is by the replacement of the gel’s liquid with gas, resulting in a lightweight, extremely low density building material. This creation produces one of the lightest, if not the lightest, solid material in the world. Amazingly, aerogel is made up of only .02 percent of solid; the other 99.98 percent is composed of air. Another incredible trait of this material is the ability to exhibit low thermal conductivity. As a matter of fact, aerogel’s has the luxury of calling itself the lowest thermal conductor of all solids. What an incredible material.
Although aerogel has not made a large appearance in the construction and design professions, there are currently numerous uses for the material. Apart from being applied in insulations for windows and other materials, aerogel has been seen in skylights and solar collectors. Application in skylights and other glazing techniques can be an extremely pleasing sight with the “solid air” material. Since aerogel is almost completely transparent, the ambiance of the material have the potential to create beautiful spaces. Not only is aerogel the innovative material of the future because of its material qualities, but it looks great too!