100 Nano-Stories: How Many Aerogels Are There? 😵

Episode #26: Types Of Aerogel & Their Applications! (Part 1)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
3 min readFeb 9, 2021

Preface! → ✨

It’s your favorite Material Science & Nanotechnology Enthusiast with another article! Today’s topic is how many types of aerogels are currently created for future worldwide applications!

Carlos, but why so many “flavors” of aerogel? Isn’t one type of aerogel good enough?

That’s what I’m about to explain, reader! The reason why we made so many is that certain aerogels carry certain thermal, mechanical, and industrial properties for a certain task, but not for a different task.

This is why we need to create a variety of aerogels!

But enough of me talking about that, let’s talk about the 6 varieties of aerogels!

Wait, there are 6!?

GIF by Giphy!

Silica Aerogel! → 🔵

It’s everyone’s favorite aerogel, Classic Silica Aerogel!

Silica Aerogel is the most researched, produced, and seen by the rest of society. When most people refer to the word “Aerogel”, they mean the classic silica aerogel!

Photo by Okorder.com

In terms of their applications, they have already made an impact in space technologies by insulating the systems of The Mars Curiosity Rover and collecting comet dust! Future applications of Classic Silica Aerogel are Window Insulation, Wall Insulation, large removal of oil spills, and be a staple in future Mars Homes!

Polymer/Organic Aerogels! → ⚪

This is silica aerogel’s older brother on steroids! Silica Aerogel is very brittle when pin-point loads of pressure are applied. But with polymer/organic aerogels, you can whack the polymer aerogel with a hammer, and the aerogel will remain intact!

Photo by Pinterest!

Currently, some applications of the polymer aerogels are for thermal insulation as blankets and mechanical engineering in certain buildings! Future applications of polymer aerogel are clothing, mechanical & aerospace engineering, & healthcare equipment!

Metal Aerogels! → 🔩

Metal Aerogels were recently developed over the past 5 years! However, this lightweight material is making its mark because of its electrical conductivity and replacing certain metals like Platinum & Palladium for Iron & Nickel!

Photo by Aerogel.org

While there aren’t applications for Metal Aerogels today, there are some promising applications for such as batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors, etc.

This can really change the game for energy storage, and maybe help out everyone’s favorite meme lord! 😉

Photo by USA Today!

Closing Thoughts! → 💭

Wait, Carlos! I thought we were going to finish the rest of the aerogels in this article!

I am deciding to split it up into 2 articles. This article is for aerogels that are already used today or will immediately be implemented soon!

The other article will have the aerogels that are still undergoing research and/or yet to find a place for real-world applications! ✅

But until tomorrow, I’ll let you ponder with these 3 varieties of aerogels because sooner or later, you’ll eventually be wearing them soon!

Photo by Stellar Equipment!

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© 2021 by Carlos Manuel Jarquin Sanchez. All Rights Reserved.