- The new process provides
dramatic cost reductions in the manufacture of aerogels.
- Aspen plans to mass-produce
aerogels using this new method and open world markets for building
insulation, skylights/windows, clothing, home appliances, aerospace,
automotive, cryogenics, and other applications.
- The potential worldwide
market for low-cost aerogels is projected to be $10 billion a year
by 2005. A 1000-liter pilot plant based on this new aerogel production
process is being built to start production by late 2001.
- Aspen currently offers
three aerogel product lines: Cryogel®, Pyrogel®, and Polar Bear™,
for low, high, and medium temperature applications, respectively.
Aspen is also producing an inexpensive, resilient, low dusting, and
extremely flexible blanket called Spaceloft™, and a thin aerogel imbedded
fabric called Aerotex™, developed in a research and development program.
These are advanced versions of the flexible aerogel insulation originally
developed under the KSC Phase II SBIR contract.
- Aspen Systems responded
to NASA's need for an aerogel-based cryogenic insulation system with
extremely low thermal conductivity that is flexible, durable, and
easy to use.
- Prototype aerogel composite
systems are currently being field tested at KSC. The basic form of
the system is a blanket composed of aerogel-based composites and radiation
shield layers. The final product can be a blanket, sheet, or clamshell
unit, depending on the application.
- Potential space applications
include the Reusable Launch Vehicle, Space Shuttle upgrades, and interplanetary
propulsion and life support equipment. The aerogel composites have
been utilized in the construction of two research cryostats, which
are currently used for thermal measurements at the KSC Cryogenics
Test Laboratory. propellants, which are typical for space launch applications.