"When you hold aerogel it feels like nothing -- like frozen smoke. It's about 95 to 97 percent air," said Ann Anderson, professor of mechanical engineering. "Nano-porous, solid and very low density, aerogel is made by removing solvents from a wet-gel. It's used for many purposes, like thermal insulation (on the Mars Rover), in windows or in extreme-weather clothing and sensors."
Together with Brad Bruno, copartner educator of mechanical designing, Mary Carroll, teacher of science and others, Anderson is considering the attainability of commercializing their aerogel fabrication process. A period and cash saver, it could speak to commercial ventures officially utilizing aerogel made within different ways.
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Throughout rapid supercritical extraction (RSCE), chemicals gel together (like Jell-O) in a hot press; the ensuing wet-gel is dried by uprooting solvents (the wet part). The remaining aerogel (dried gel), is made in hours, instead of the days or weeks.
RSCE, Anderson said, is additionally roughly seven times less expensive, obliging one hour of work for eight hours of work in other procedures.
A decent place for such a methodology, and Union automotive, is the car business.
"Our 3-way catalytic aerogels promote chemical reactions that convert the three major pollutants in automotive exhaust -- unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide -- into less harmful water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide," Anderson said. "Because aerogels have very high surface areas and good thermal properties, we think they could replace precious metals, like platinum, used in current catalytic converters."
"That's a lot of surface area for gases to come in contact with, facilitating very efficient pollution mitigation," Anderson said.
Aerogel market is emerging a promising market for investors. As per Allied Market Research, the market is expected to reach $1,896.6 million by 2020. Definitely, the market participants can think of commercialization of aerogel.
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