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Aerogel is nanotechnology
A nanometer is

1 billionth of a meter.
A hair is 80,000

nm wide.
Aerogel is a glass

foam with bubbles 10 nm wide.

Scanning electron microscope picture of aerogel
(Photo: Mohan Edirisinghe, University College, London and Paolo Colombo. Used by permission)

Why is aerogel blue?

The sky, glaciers and

aerogel all have tiny particles or bubbles that scatter light.

Blue scatters the most,

so they all look blue.

What is aerogel good for?

Tiny bubbles make

amazing insulators
40 times better

than fiberglass

NASA photo

Aerogel insulates
Aerogel panels in

OMSIs roof!
Keeps building warm
Lets light through

Aerogel is strong
Aerogel is super

strong for its weight.

A 2.5 kg brick

supported on top of a piece of aerogel weighing only 2 grams over 1000 times lighter!
NASA photo

Strength under pressure

Mix alcohol and silicon

Under high pressure

and temperature, replace liquid with gas

(CC) Stian Martinsen via Flickr

Aerogel is light
NASA uses aerogel

because its really lightweight.

Cheaper to fly

into space
Used on the
NASA photo

Stardust probe

Catching comets
Tiny particles of

space dust get stuck in aerogel.

Stardust @ home
You can look at

particles yourself!

This project was supported by the

National Science Foundation under Grant No. ESI-0532536. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.