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New flexible aerogels  (Source: NASA)
New Aerogels are 500 times stronger than current silica ancestors

NASA scientists have created stronger types of aerogels that could eventually be used for a broad spectrum of applications, such as clothing, home insulation and even in space. 
Mary Ann B. Meador, Ph.D., study leader and scientist at the NASA Glenn Research Center, and a team of colleagues, have developed the new aerogel. Aerogels are the world's lightest solid materials, but serve as excellent insulation.
The new aerogels were made stronger than traditional aerogels by using polymer to support the networks of silica that make up their structure. Also, aerogels were made from polyimide, which is a heat-resistant material, and using cross-stitches to further strengthen the aerogel. 
The result was a strong, yet flexible aerogel that can be used in many different scenarios. They could be used as insulation in clothing, tents, sleeping bags and homes, for instance. According to Meador, the aerogel is 5-10 times stronger than current insulation and wouldn't be quite as thick, offering more space inside the house. 
They could also be used for larger purposes, like uniforms for firemen and heat shields for spacecraft re-entering the Earth's atmosphere after a long journey to the International Space Station (ISS).
"The new aerogels are up to 500 times stronger than their silica counterparts," said Meador. "A thick piece actually can support the weight of a car. And they can be produced in a thin form, a film so flexible that a wide variety of commercial and industrial uses are possible."

Source: Science Daily

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More room in the house
By Nautical on 8/20/2012 10:01:20 PM , Rating: 3
"More room in the house" is a very interesting selling point. Home insulation is generally in the attic and in the walls. I doubt anyone will build homes with thinner walls to gain more room as a result of this knew product. Perhaps homes can be better insulated with it but I doubt homes will have more space because of it.

RE: More room in the house
By shin0bi272 on 8/20/2012 11:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
Thats what I was thinking... whos going to use 1x2 studs in their house? That's just asking for your house to collapse to gain a couple of inches per wall. I guess if you were building one of those concrete dome houses or a house in a cave or something it would be very helpful but as a way to make home walls thinner they miss the point of walls entirely.

Where this will help the most is in airplanes, ships, submarines, and space exploration where weight and space are at the utmost premium.

RE: More room in the house
By shin0bi272 on 8/21/2012 12:24:22 AM , Rating: 3
oh wait more ideas where this will be beneficial... line the inside of HVAC and pipes (including industrial pipes for things like beer taps), appliances like ovens and fridges, automobiles, and fire retardant clothing for firefighters. Still not going to make your walls thinner but it has a lot of other uses LOL.

RE: More room in the house
By StevoLincolnite on 8/21/2012 1:46:39 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking hair gel...

RE: More room in the house
By fic2 on 8/21/2012 11:58:29 AM , Rating: 2
My first thought was fridge/freezer. Also water heater tank. Cover for swimming pool/hot tub.

I am still not sure why refrigerators don't use vacuum walls though.

Wouldn't mind thinner gloves/jacket as long as it can take active (snowboarding) use.

Car insulation - assuming that the sound insulation properties are good.

RE: More room in the house
By fic2 on 8/21/2012 12:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
I also thought we were supposed to have aerogel insulated windows by now... (I need those for my flying car)

RE: More room in the house
By MadMan007 on 8/21/2012 12:25:45 AM , Rating: 2
Greater insulation ating in the same volume instead then.

RE: More room in the house
By HoosierEngineer5 on 8/21/2012 8:36:23 AM , Rating: 2
Many larger houses are built with 6" walls, rather than 4", a major reason to get thicker insulation in the walls. The cost of the lumber is a bit higher.

A 40' x 40' house is 1600 square feet. A 40' 2" x 40' 2" house is 1626 square feet. That's a free closet.

RE: More room in the house
By danjw1 on 8/21/2012 1:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
You could still use the 2x4 just rotated 90 degree, so the thin end is the thickness. But, it would only add about 2" inches one each edge, so 4" per dimension. But, there are also usually plumbing and cabling in walls. So I am not sure how useful it would really be.

Anyway, there are lots of things this could be useful for, maybe flak jackets? "Build it and they will come", it is a new material that engineers can play with. :-) That is all good. NASA has lots of projects that end up producing new technologies that are useful in many other areas other then just aerospace.

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