Main reasons why aerogel is important to the global economy


Aerogel is a solid material with excellent thermal insulation properties and special microstructures such as high specific surface area, nano-scale pores, and low density. Based on these microstructures, it has excellent thermal conductivity of ~0.012mw/mk, density of ~0.16mg/cm3, specific surface area of 400-1000m2/g, porosity of 90-99.8%, stable chemical properties, and 99% of its internal volume is composed of gas, making it the least dense solid material known to date.

Aerogel is easy to produce and comes in various forms, enabling it to have a wide range of commercial applications for use in the modern economy, in fields including but not limited to the oil and gas, aerospace, military, clothing, construction, and automotive (traditional vehicles and new energy vehicles) industries.

Aerogel Block
Figure: Aerogel

Principal Production Methods

Since SiO2 aerogel material is the most mature commercialised product at present, the two mainstream processing methods used in commercial practice today are namely the drying method and sol-gel method. The preparation process of aerogel mainly includes the drying process of sol-gel, aging, modification and wet gel.

The sol-gel process refers to the process in which the precursor sol is aggregated and condensed to form a gel. However, because the newly formed wet gel has insufficient three-dimensional strength and is easy to break and collapse, it is necessary to age in the parent solution for a period of time to increase the strength or use surface modification to reduce or eliminate the drying stress. Moreover, the drying process replaces the solution in the pores of the wet gel with air and discharges it. The main processing technology mostly used in production today is the drying method.


Due to its excellent thermal insulation properties, aerogel is widely used in industries including oil and gas pipelines, military, aerospace, transportation, lithium batteries, environmental protection, construction, and clothing. But also, composite products include felt, paper, cloth, sheets, powder, slurry, and paint.

Aerogel commercial applications in the new economy
Figure: Aerogel commercial applications in the new economy
Aerogel products and applications
Figure: Aerogel products and applications

Competitive Landscape

At present, there are dozens of producers in China using the mature carbon dioxide supercritical extraction process. Drying equipment is one of the main barriers to using extraction process. Of which, Guizhou Aerospace Wujiang Electromechanical Equipment is the only manufacturer which integrates design and manufacturing of supercritical extraction equipment.

Furthermore, overseas companies in the late stage with market share include Aspen Aerogels, Cabot Corporation, Armacell Jios Aerogels Ltd.

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Aerogel market research report

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