Aerogels are made of highly porous solid material consisting of 90 – 98 % air, and are the lightest solid materials in the world. They were originally developed for use in space, as insulating material for spacesuits and also as a storage medium for gases and solids. The raw material from which aerogels are made is amorphous silicon dioxide, known in the building industry as potassium water glass or silicate. The highest performance insulating materials available today, they are purely mineral in origin.
Outstanding insulation thanks to an incredibly fine porous structure Aerogels possess an extremely fine-grained microstructure. Air molecules become trapped in the pores, severely limiting the ability of the material to conduct heat. Aerogels are therefore characterised by being the best available insulating materials, i.e. those with the lowest coefficients of thermal conductivity.