The company produces a nanotechnology-enabled, ultra-thin (about 1/4-inch typically) insulation said to outperform other insulations by two and eight times. The aerogel material is designed to work well where space and volume are at a premium, or where a reduction in volume can produce other significant savings.
Aerogels have been around since the 1930s and can be brittle, hindering their commercial applications. Using a patented nanotechnology, the supplier delivers the insulation in a flexible blanket format.
Two major manufacturers of water heaters are said to be currently testing the blanket insulation. Typically, water heaters have fiberglass in the top area with foam insulation around the cylinder. The blanket insulation is said to provide energy savings by stopping the transfer of heat better than the fiberglass material in the top area.
A kitchen oven’s self-cleaning heat cycle can generate up to 1,000°F (540°C). Typically up to 3 inches of various types of insulation are used to keep the outside of the oven at an acceptable temperature. According to the supplier, its blanket insulation allows the oven insulation layer to be thinner, translating to more usable oven space.
Foam insulation is also typically used as insulation in the area behind water dispensers of side-by-side refrigerators. The foam is thinner in this area due to the dispensing door. According to the supplier, its aerogel insulation material can increase the door’s skin temperature, which will decrease the chance of condensation. The company says the material will increase the efficiency of the appliance by allowing less heat to flow through the insulation. Aspen Aerogels, www.aerogel.com