0
  1. Would it possibly make sense for me to use aerogel as a seasonal window quilt? It may depend critically on some other factors; if so, what are they?

  2. In particular, I have heard that aerogel designed for insulation has the following properties which led me to consider it. Are these accurate?

  • I have heard that it is translucent.
  • I have heard that it squishes fairly well against irregular surfaces and does not lose much of its insulating value when compressed.
  • I have heard that it is fairly resistant to coming apart if it catches on stuff.
  • I have heard that it has an r-value of about 10 per inch or more, under "normal" conditions.
  • I have heard that it is less likely (given current knowledge) to pose health risks than fiberglass.
  • I've heard that it can be had for about $30 per cubic foot in 2020.
  1. I'm pretty sure that "aerogel" is a pretty broad class of materials. If I am looking for "insulating aerogel," what descriptors should I look for to make sure I am not buying some other kind of aerogel?

  2. It is possible that this question has too many "subcomponents" and will need to be split up; sorry if that's the case.

2
  • isn't aerogel similar to fiberglass in composition? ... the structure is different ... the health risks would probably be the same
    – jsotola
    Sep 24 '20 at 2:46
  • thanks @jsotola; I don't understand the chemistry, but now that you mention it the following document suggests there could actually be similar health risks, I think: cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2014-0026-3230.pdf
    – capet
    Sep 24 '20 at 3:37
1

Aerogel is brittle, easily damaged and extremely expensive. Thirty dollars per cubic inch sounds more likely than per cubic foot. There's a web site for aerogel and related products. The linked product is a silica disk, about an inch around and less than 3/8" thick. US$35 fits in with the expected price.

The same site also offers composite blankets. It's a combination of aerogel and other insulating materials. Two feet by four feet by 5 mm for US$180 still falls into the expensive category, but that's my opinion.

There's no R factor in the main ad copy, but the spec sheet is available for download and may include that information.

Aerogel is silica and in powder form can be a problem if inhaled. Any product of that nature is a health concern. Don't shred it or otherwise damage it and the risk is low.

4
  • You're right about the cubic inch vs foot. I will mark this as the answer tomorrow. Thanks a lot!!
    – capet
    Sep 24 '20 at 0:51
  • While I have you, what would you think about the following application: Stick a sheet of aerogel inside my window frame at the start of the winter, then apply a layer of shrink film like (this)[frostking.com/products/window-kits/indoor-shrink-window-kits] on the interior side, to try to protect the aerogel from me and me from dust. Also how translucent would that be?
    – capet
    Sep 24 '20 at 1:11
  • 1
    I'm going to guess that you mean the insulating blanket and not the pure aerogel. The blanket appears to be completely opaque.
    – fred_dot_u
    Sep 24 '20 at 15:48
  • That's what I probably should have meant in the original question, but for the shrink film question I think I mean just the aerogel? I was hoping that the fragility of the aerogel would be okay if it was protected from me by the plastic.
    – capet
    Sep 24 '20 at 15:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.