Fresh impetus for lightweight design

Lightweight design with additional functions, such as super heat insulation and extreme sound absorption, is a challenge for materials in ground-based vehicles and aircraft, or in thermal insulation tasks in many industrial high temperature processes.

Aerogels can offer fresh impetus and new solutions in these areas. They are nanostructured, open-porous solids produced using a sol-gel process. All types of aerogels are lightweight, have very low thermal conductivity, a large inner surface area, are sound-absorbing and can be equipped with other functions.

The Aerogels Department at the Institute of Materials Research has been synthesising organic and inorganic aerogels for over 20 years and developing processes for manufacturing them to a pilot scale. Silica aerogels are produced for high-temperature applications.

Hybrid and thermoset aerogels, as well as cellulose-, chitin- and chitosan-based biopolymer aerogels are being developed for applications in moderate temperature ranges.

Aerogel materials can be combined to form new composites, even with other aerogels.

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Barbara Milow · E-Mail: ·