Aerogels look cool

Q&O links a cool article from the London Times on aerogels, apparently the least dense substance manufactured by man.  They are apparently great insulators and can be apparently be tweaked to be selectively permeable or absorbent of various substances, making them useful for filtering applications.  And they are being used in tennis rackets  (I have a theory that tennis and golf equipment manufacturers are to new materials what pornography is to new digital distribution mechanisms -- they seem to always be early adopters). 

Postscript: Of course we get this same article about material X every five years ago in the press, so it is OK to be skeptical.  But the picture is still wicked cool.


  1. ErikTheRed:

    Dude, Aerogel has been around *forever* (as have many wicked-cool pictures). I have no idea why some UK rag decided it was suddenly 'news'. It's the best insulator, least-dense solid, and holds many other records for physical properties. It's somewhere between hideously expensive and impossible to make in any size that doesn't fit in your hand (and that's just 'very, very expensive'), which is what's been limiting its use.

  2. Tim Worstall:

    "tennis and golf equipment",,,,add baseball and bikes to that list. Carbon fibre, aluminium scandium....

  3. TCO:

    I know a fair amount about Aspen and a little about Mercouri. Yes, they are cool materials. But not new. You are right to caution your own falling in love. But instead of doing either, why not think about what are the critical questions to ask to make decisions? Of course, this would require actually doing issue analysis.

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