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Aspen Aerogels

Aerogel Insulation Delivers High Thermal Performance in Transportation Heat Shielding


NORTHBOROUGH, Mass.--The ability to provide low thermal conductivity in tight spaces is an essential requirement of materials used in transportation heat shielding applications. Aspen Aerogels, Inc., has developed a range of innovative materials that are said to provide significantly higher thermal insulation than conventional materials currently being used in the transportation and numerous other industries.

The aerogels' combination of temperature control, fire resistance, and acoustic properties is said to be advantageous for use in vehicle firewall applications. Their flexible nature allows the design of thermal bandages or patches that can be used to control hotspots in the engine compartment. And when used in combination with other materials, the aerogels function as thermally-insulating under-the-hood liners that manage top-side touch temperatures. Diesel particulate filter systems--where the materials can maintain the necessary diesel exhaust temperatures inside the filter and reduce the exhaust-pipe touch temperature--are another demanding application.

The thinness of the material gives it an advantage over existing materials that won't work in space-constrained applications. It can save space and weight while delivering excellent thermal performance.

"It's the best solid insulator there is," says Mark Krayjewski, applications development specialist for Aspen Aerogels. "Where space is a premium, and you need to manage some thermal aspect of your design, there's no better material."

Aspen's aerogel material is a composite that resembles a textile material. "It looks like a dense felt that comes in a roll form," says Krayjewski. The company's innovation was born of a research contract issued by the U.S. government to make a flexible, highly-efficient insulation material for a Mars mission. "We took the traditional monolithic form and combined it with a non-woven fiber matrix to make an aerogel-fiber composite," says Krayjewski. "We're taking a brittle material and putting it in a fiber blanket, making a composite material."

According to Krayjewski, the resulting material is 80%-90% aerogel, retaining the thermal properties of the aerogel but in a flexible form.

In addition to heat shielding for the transportation industry, Aspen's aerogel materials have applications in commercial cooking equipment, building and construction, LNG ships, and storage and transfer systems. They also have uses in the military, aerospace, and processing industries.

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This technical information has been contributed by
Aspen Aerogels

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