The Kid Should See This

The World’s Lightest Solid: What is aerogel?

In this Veritasium video, Derek Muller learns about ultralight silica aerogels. How was this microporous material invented? Why is it such a good thermal insulator? And how is it like a portable sunset?

Aerogels are space-age wonders. At 99.8% air, they’re the world’s lightest/least dense solids, and yet they’re also brilliant for thermal insulation. They’ve been used on NASA’s Mars rovers and the Stardust comet particle-capturing capsule. Plus, they can almost protect a chocolate bunny from melting.

thermal camera view
aerogel
Related reading: Graphene aerogels, the lightest of the aerogels.

Watch these related videos: Picking up NASA’s 2,200 degree thermal tiles with bare hands, The World in UV, and Why Is The Sun Yellow and The Sky Blue?

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