Is aerogel fire resistant?

This blog post will answer the question, “Is aerogel fire-resistant” and cover topics like fire-resistant properties of aerogel and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Is aerogel fire resistant?

Yes, aerogel is fire resistant. Due to the abundance of benzene rings and nitrogen atoms in the structure, polybenzoxazine (PBO) aerogel is a novel form of phenolic polymer aerogel material that has inherent flame resistance.

Why is Aerogel such an effective thermal insulator?

Aerogel is a good thermal insulator for several reasons. Small, three-dimensional, interconnected clusters make up the solid component of silica aerogel. They make up just 3% of the total volume and are poor conductors. The remaining 97 percent of the aerogel’s volume is made up of air trapped in small pores. Because there isn’t much area for air to travel, both convection and gas-phase conduction are inhibited. Aerogel is the world’s lowest density solid and most efficient thermal insulator because of these properties.

What Is Aerogel and How Does It Work?

Aerogel’s structural structure is generally made of silica. As a result, silica aerogel is often referred to simply as “aerogel.” Other structural materials, however, have been utilized to make aerogels, including:

  • Iron oxide
  • Copper
  • Carbon
  • Gold

Organic polymers are a kind of organic polymer that may be found in nature.

Aerogel has a nearly translucent look regardless of the substance it is made of. Aerogel has numerous unique qualities due to its high gas concentration, including very poor thermal conductivity, very high porosity, and extremely low density.

What Characterizes Aerogel as an Effective Thermal Insulator?

The solid component of silica aerogel is made up of tiny three-dimensional clusters that are interconnected. They barely make up 3% of the total volume and are terrible conductors. The balance of the aerogel’s volume is made up of air trapped in small pores.

Because there isn’t much area for movement in this air, both gas-phase conduction and convection are impossible. Aerogel is the world’s lowest density solid and most efficient thermal insulator due to these properties.

The Benefits of Aerogel Insulation

The benefits of aerogel insulation are listed below:

  • Thermal Conductivity with Low Density
  • Exceptional Thermal Insulation
  • Hydrophobic nature 
  • High Longevity
  • Application Process Is Simple
  • Astonishing Acoustic Properties

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Thermal Conductivity with Low Density

Because most of the substance in aerogel is merely air, it seems transparent, which also explains its very low density. Aerogels are the lightest solids on the planet, weighing less than a pound for a six-foot block.

Aerogel is also prized for having a very low thermal conductivity, which may be as low as 0.015 W m-1 K-1.

Exceptional Thermal Insulation

Aerogel’s remarkable heat insulation (0.023 W/mK at 100°C) is one of its most distinguishing physical features. Aerogel efficiently enhances equipment energy efficiency when used for thermal insulation, lowering emissions and energy expenses.

Hydrophobic nature 

Aerogel has a great ability to resist water. It may also protect operational and insulating components from rust and moisture damage due to its hydrophobic nature.

High Longevity

Aerogel doesn’t clump or crack like other insulators in high-temperature conditions, and it doesn’t clump, sag, or break. As a consequence, it can withstand collisions, vibrations, and regular traffic. It may also be reused after a thorough examination.

Aerogel has a much longer service life due to its exceptional durability.

Application Process Is Simple

Thinner blankets make it simpler to install and remove blankets for repairs and maintenance, which saves money and time.

Astonishing Acoustic Properties

Aerogel has excellent acoustic qualities, much superior to polyurethane forms in terms of sound insulation.

Aerogel’s drawbacks

Drawbacks of aerogel are listed below:

  • Difficult Manufacturing Process
  • Price
  • Brittleness

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Difficult Manufacturing Process

Aerogel is still difficult to make, despite advances in manufacturing technology.

The largest extensive aerogel panel produced by the industry was 90 x 90 cm. These proportions were only feasible due to the utilization of cutting-edge machinery.

If you were to buy aerogels, the largest size you could get is 30 x 30 cm. For larger sizes, special orders must be ordered.

Price

Another reason why many individuals are hesitant to utilize aerogel is the cost. Aerogel, as previously stated, is the most efficient thermal insulator. As a result, it comes with a high price tag.

Furthermore, because of the high cost of production, the expense is eventually passed on to the customers. A silica Aerogel with dimensions of 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm x 1 cm costs more than $50 as a result of this.

Brittleness

The fragile nature of aerogels is one of the industry’s biggest concerns. The material is fairly robust and can support many times its weight, but it does not hold up well under strain.

Other Insulators vs. Aerogel

Insulation may be made from a variety of materials. We’ll compare some of the most prevalent kinds of insulators to aerogel so you can make an educated choice.

Fiberglass vs. Aerogel

Because of the way fiberglass is made, it has a low heat transfer coefficient and is a great non-flammable insulator. The inexpensive cost of fiberglass is another advantage.

The primary downside of fiberglass is the potential for injury while handling it. If sufficient safety measures are not performed during the installation, glass powder and minute shards of glass may cause harm to the lungs, eyes, and skin.

Aerogel insulation is more efficient than fiberglass insulation. Costs have also decreased as aerogel has gained prominence in several sectors.

Mineral Wool vs. Aerogel

Mineral wool refers to a variety of insulating materials, including glass wool and rock wool. It’s available as a loose fabric or in batts.

The majority of mineral wool does not include any fire-resistant compounds. As a result, in excessive temperatures, mineral wool isn’t a good option on its own. Instead, you’ll have to use it in conjunction with more costly fire-resistant insulation.

Aerogel is very fire-resistant, making it ideal for use in both cold and hot temperatures.

Cellulose vs. Aerogel

One of the most ecologically friendly forms of insulation is cellulose insulation. Recycled paper, paperboard, and other paper resources are used to make cellulose. It is particularly resistant to flames since it does not contain oxygen.

It may, however, cause newspaper dust allergies. Furthermore, getting qualified persons to install this insulation is a challenge. When it comes to fire resistance and eco-friendliness, aerogel and cellulose are almost identical, but aerogel is considerably simpler to handle and install.

The benefits and drawbacks of using aerogel insulation on the exterior or interior of a wall

Have you ever considered asking the sales consultant of the sales department if this house is exterior insulation or external insulation when purchasing a home? Although most homes on the market employ aerogel insulation outside the wall, isn’t it still important to know when purchasing a home? 

What is the purpose of the aerogel insulation on the exterior of the wall?

Aerogel insulation outside the wall, as the name implies, is an insulation technique that involves putting the insulation layer on the outside of the primary wall material. This is the same as putting protective clothes on everyone in the building.

The benefits and drawbacks of aerogel insulation and aerogel insulation within the wall are discussed below.

  • Excellent impact and energy savings
  • Improve the indoor air quality
  • Make the service life longer
  • It has a broad variety of uses

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Excellent impact and energy savings

Because the aerogel insulation material is applied to the outside of the building’s outer wall, the cold and heat bridge effects of various parts of the structure can be virtually eliminated; the heat insulation effectiveness can be fully utilized, and the aerogel is required if the same insulation material is used. The insulating material has a thin thickness that saves energy.

Improve the indoor air quality

The aerogel insulation on the exterior of the wall enhances the wall’s thermal insulation and boosts the room’s thermal stability. It also helps to prevent wind, frost, rain, and snow from soaking the surrounding wall increasing the moisture-proofing performance within the wall and preventing mildew, condensation, and cold in the room.

Make the service life longer

The aerogel insulation layer applied to the exterior of the building considerably lowers the impact of natural temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet radiation on the primary structure, protecting it and extending its life. The thermal contraction and expansion of the outer edge of the building may cause cracking of some non-structural members of the building due to the influence of temp on the structure, and the external wall using external thermal insulation technology can relieve stress produced inside the structure.

It has a broad variety of uses

Outside the building wall, aerogel insulation is useful not just for buildings that need heating in the north, but also for air-conditioned structures that require heat insulation in the south. It may be used to insulate masonry exterior walls of brick-concrete buildings, as well as shear wall constructions and external walls. It is appropriate for both new and historic homes.

Second, what is the purpose of the insulation within the wall?

Adding an aerogel insulation layer into the exterior wall construction is referred to as “aerogel insulation in the wall.” Its construction is quick, and the technology is advanced.

It has a lot of flaws when compared to the aerogel insulation outside the wall. First, the insulation layer is built into the wall, reducing the commercial building’s usable space; second, it has an impact on residents’ secondary decoration, as the interior walls cannot be attached with heavy objects like elegant paintings, and the inner wall suspension and fixed objects are easily damaged. 

Internal insulation structure; it is easy to produce moldy phenomena in the inner wall; after that, the internal insulation structure will cause two temp fields on the inner and outer walls to form a temperature difference, and the thermal contraction and expansion of the outer wall surface are greater than that of the inner wall surface, resulting in a temperature difference. The building’s structure is shaky, and the aerogel insulating layer is prone to cracking.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Is aerogel fire resistant?”

Is it possible for aerogel insulation to catch fire?

Aerogels are well-known in the industry for their ability to act as thermal insulators in freezing environments, but the treatments used to make them hydrophobic previously made them flammable.

Why is aerogel resistant to fire?

Due to the abundance of benzene rings and nitrogen atoms in the structure, polybenzoxazine (PBO) aerogel is a novel form of phenolic polymer aerogel material that has inherent flame resistance.

Is aerogel water resistant?

Traditional silica and other oxide-based aerogels are not waterproof by nature, but they may be changed to be not only waterproof but also superhydrophobic. Aerogel Technologies’ mechanically robust Airloy® aerogels are water-resistant, with various degrees of hydrophobicity for varied purposes.

What is an aerogel, exactly?

An aerogel is a solid foam that is open-celled, mesoporous, and consists of a network of linked nanostructures with a porosity (non-solid volume) of at least 50%. The word “mesoporous” refers to a substance with pores ranging in diameter from 2 to 50 nanometers.

When it comes to aerogel, how long does it last?

The findings reveal that the increase in thermal conductivity over pristine conditions for the various examined materials is generally less than 10% for aging exposure equal to 20 years under normal settings.

Is it true that aerogel is lighter than air?

Properties. Aero-graphene is 99.8percentage air, strong as steel, and the lightest material on the planet. A Graphene Aerogel is 12percent lighter than the previous lightest substance discovered and 7 times lighter than air. It may be found on top of the petals of a flower or on a cotton ball since it is so light and thick.

References:

https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/fire-retardant-binary-network-aerogel/#:~:text=The%20low%20density%20and%20high,the%20aerogel%20excellent%20fire%20resistance.
https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2018/ta/c8ta07204c
https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/13/12/2809/pdf

http://www.aerogel.org/community/phenolic-silica-aerogels-fire-retardant-and-thermally-insulating-materials/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmats.2021.659655/full
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/app.50224

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