Homemade Silica Aerogel

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles

Article Featured Image

Aerogels are fascinating materials, with lots of interesting and, frankly, amazing properties, but they are not easy to make. These days, industrial manufacture with an eye towards commercial applications, primarily as thermal insulators, is bringing the price down some, at least for granules, but larger pieces still cost around $50 US per cubic inch.

Ben Krasnow, impressively, has made his own, using a homemade supercritical drying apparatus. If you want to get a feel for what goes into making this material, and/or understand why it’s so expensive, and/or try to make some yourself, check out his recent post on the subject. [Thanks, Ben!]

More:

Explore More From Make: