Svenska Aerogel has developed and commercialized Quartzene®, a material that is produced using a flexible, environmentally friendly and highly cost-effective manufacturing method. Commercialization of the product will be conducted in a number of different applications, primarily in insulation, paint and coatings, and filtration, in close cooperation with partners in the industry.
In the initial phases, Svenska Aerogel has focused development of Quartzene in three areas: Thermal insulation, paint and coatings and filtration of gases and liquids.
Aerogel More in Depth
Aerogels have very low density and high porosity. Only 1-15% of its volume consists of solid material, whereas the remaining parts consist of the surrounding gas or vacuum.
Aerogels can be manufactured using the sol-gel method. Most common are aerogels consisting of silica materials, though plastic polymers, carbon or metal oxides can also be used as the base.
Aerogels are among the lightest solid materials in existence, but they nonetheless have good mechanical characteristics. They can bear great pressure loads but are still generally very fragile. They are usually transparent with a slightly smoky appearance. The typical pore size is just a few nanometers. Aerogels are a superior insulating and filtration material with existing and potential applications in a large number of industries and products.
The base material is a sol – that is, a colloidal mixture of solid particles finely dispersed in liquid – which is polymerized into gel, after which the solvent is evaporated. By allowing evaporation to occur above the liquid’s critical pressure and temperature, a specific interface between liquid and gas is avoided, and thereby the capillary forces that cause shrinkage in a normal sol-gel process. This process was discovered as early as 1931 by American scientist Steven Kistler. The raw material, silicon, is one of the most common substances in the Earth’s crust.