Airgel: from aerospace to civil
Aerogels is considered to be the world\’s lightest solid, and because the specific surface area and low thermal conductivity characteristics of high, widely used in aircraft and spacecraft thermal protection materials. In 1999, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed a density of 3 mg / cm3 of silica, became the world\’s lightest solid material. However, since the silicon airgel material brittleness, moisture sensitivity and other characteristics limit its use, NASA has been supporting for many years to carry out related research work durability aerogels. silicon-based airgel material with a spacecraft landing light, supersonic needs flexible inflatable material reducer, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) first researchers conducted using a silicon polymer enhanced gas gel to improve the durability of the study, found that the polymer-reinforced silicon airgel density is doubled compared to aerogels, reduced by 30% to 50% specific surface area, but to enhance the strength of two orders of magnitude. The polymer enhanced aerosilicon improve durability, however, still can not meet the strength requirements of the spacecraft moderating material. Thereafter, in collaboration with the University of Akron and carry eight-aminophenyl (the POSS) crosslinked polyimide aerogels prepared a density of 0.12 g / cm3, a porosity of 90% polyimide gas condensate gum. This material can be subjected to a temperature of 1100 ° F up to 90 s, so as to ensure that no combustion into the atmosphere; 5 times the strength of the polymer enhanced silicon airgel, can be made thinner (thickness 0.5 mm) of the material collapsible reservoir to meet the requirements of the spacecraft, well overcomes the deficiencies aerogels in weight, cost, flexibility, durability and the like. Based on a flexible polyimide airgel and airgel fiber material, NASA started to develop structural materials to meet the spacecraft multifunctional composite material and heat requirements. The NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) researchers have developed a multifunctional airgel / fiber hybrid composite material for producing a laminate, by selecting different fibrous layers (e.g., polyester, carbon fibers, Kevlar® cone fibers, Spectra ® fibers, or combinations thereof Innegra fiber), the different layer thicknesses and different airgel composite structure,Made of different composite materials or multifunctional. This lightweight, high-strength composite materials multifunctional meet aerospace in heat resistance, impact resistance, energy absorption, acoustic requirements, etc., and in automotive, marine, construction, liquefied natural gas, sports equipment and military protection and many other applications. Aerospace Applications: inflatable decelerator order to achieve a manned Mars landing plan, NASA is developing a heavy load transportation technology, supersonic inflatable pneumatic reducer (HIAD) is a brake to provide spacecraft payload volume and effective solution. In 2006, NASA set up a project called \”advanced atmosphere inflatable decelerator\” (Advance Inflatable Decelerators for Atmospheric Entry, PAIDAE) and developed by the outer layer of insulation, airtight layers, a diameter of 3 of HIAD -12 m. Civil case: outdoor clothing and equipment in 2015, FLEXcon company received permission from the flexible airgel technology NASA GRC, and being carried out with the same polyimide aerogels developed Blueshift companies to larger scale production of such high-profile consistent with NASA\’s airgel material. In addition to products for use in extreme environments, FLEXcon company is also developing polyimide aerogels high-end outdoor products, such as outdoor clothing, gloves, footwear, tents and so on.