A cheap organic steam generator to purify water

It has been estimated that in 2040 a quarter of the world's children will live in regions where clean and drinkable water is lacking. The desalination of seawater and the purification of wastewater are two possible methods ...

Aerogels for solar devices and windows

In recent decades, the search for high-performance thermal insulation for buildings has prompted manufacturers to turn to aerogels. Invented in the 1930s, these remarkable materials are translucent, ultraporous, lighter than ...

Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport ...

Getting more heat out of sunlight

A newly developed material that is so perfectly transparent you can barely see it could unlock many new uses for solar heat. It generates much higher temperatures than conventional solar collectors do—enough to be used ...

Specific ion effects directed noble metal aerogels

Noble metal foams (NMFs) are a new class of functional materials that contain both noble metals and monolithic porous materials for impressive multi prospects in materials science and multidisciplinary fields. In a recent ...

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Aerogel

Aerogel is a synthetic porous material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. The result is a solid with extremely low density and thermal conductivity. It is nicknamed frozen smoke, solid smoke, solid air or blue smoke owing to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) to the touch.

Aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid in 'jellies' with gas without causing shrinkage.

Aerogels are produced by extracting the liquid component of a gel through supercritical drying. This allows the liquid to be slowly drawn off without causing the solid matrix in the gel to collapse from capillary action, as would happen with conventional evaporation. The first aerogels were produced from silica gels. Kistler's later work involved aerogels based on alumina, chromia and tin oxide. Carbon aerogels were first developed in the late 1980s.

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