Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the properties and applications of aerogel.
What is Cabot aerogel?
Cabot aerogel is a family of superior grades of highly porous, hydrophobic, high surface area amorphous silica particles or granules. LUMIRA® aerogel and ENOVA® aerogel are trade names for our family of silica aerogels.
How is aerogel manufactured?
Our aerogel manufacturing process is similar to the commercial production of silica sol gel, but our proprietary patented process enables the preservation of porous air-filled hydrophobic structures.
How does aerogel differ from fumed silica products?
Aerogel is a hydrophobic amorphous silica product that is chemically similar to common fumed silica products. The most significant differences are that aerogel has larger aggregate sizes, higher surface areas and larger pore volumes, and is produced in a sol gel manufacturing process.
Are Cabot aerogel products safe?
Yes. Our aerogel products are hydrophobic synthetic amorphous silica that is chemically very similar to other amorphous silica products. It typically consists of greater than 97% hydrophobic synthetic amorphous silica and the remaining mass in adsorbed water. Silica is a common material used in personal care products such as lotions and cosmetics. Our aerogel products do not contain crystalline silica and are neither carcinogenic nor mutagenic. Aerogel may be irritating to eyes and skin, please see the MSDS for further information.
What is the particle size of translucent LUMIRA® aerogel?
Translucent aerogel granules have a particle size distribution of 1 to 3 millimeters.
Why is Cabot aerogel a superior thermal insulator?
Aerogel is a highly porous open structure with an average pore size of ~20 nanometers. This pore size is smaller than the mean free path of air which greatly restricts gas conduction and convection inside the particles. It is this feature that makes aerogel a poor conductor of thermal energy, hence a great thermal insulator.
Why is Cabot aerogel a good acoustic insulator?
The porous structure of aerogel can reduce the transmission of airborne sound waves through either reflection or absorption.
Why is LUMIRA aerogel a good light transmitter?
The highly porous structure of aerogel allows light to diffuse throughout a daylighting system.
Is LUMIRA aerogel a proven insulation material in architectural daylighting systems?
Yes, LUMIRA aerogel has been successfully installed in a variety of daylighting systems in North America, Europe, and Asia. Installations have ranged from schools, to hospitals, to recreational facilities, residential buildings and office spaces.
What are the key attributes of LUMIRA daylighting systems?
LUMIRA aerogel-based insulation enables improved thermal performance, light transmission, condensation resistance, acoustic performance and the ability to meet building codes without the usual tradeoffs.
Are LUMIRA daylighting systems resistant to moisture?
LUMIRA aerogel is hydrophobic in nature. It is this property that inhibits mold or mildew growth within the system.
Are LUMIRA daylighting systems considered “green products?”
LUMIRA aerogel is safe, non-hazardous and environmentally friendly. Additionally, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) has confirmed that our aerogel is consistent with their "Cradle to Cradle" design philosophy.
Is LUMIRA aerogel insulation ultraviolet (UV) stable? Will there be any discoloration over time?
LUMIRA aerogel insulation systems are UV stable. The color stability and insulation performance of translucent LUMIRA aerogel are long-lasting, and will degrade only minimally over time when handled and installed properly.