NTU’s aerogel foam cuts insulation expenses in half

Article By : Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University has unveiled an aerogel foam that insulates better and blocks out 30% noise compared to other foams.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore has developed the Bronx AeroSil, an aerogel-based foam that insulates two times more than current insulation materials and blocks out 30% external noise than usual.

Made from silica aerogels and additives, the Bronx AeroSil is ideal for use in building and construction, oil and gas, and the automotive industry. Co-developer Sunil Chandrankant Joshi, an NTU associate professor, said the foam is easy to install and use as it is thinner than conventional foam.

The aerogel foam insulates 37% more than conventional foams with 50 percent less material needed compared when using the latter.

Bronx AeroSil also reduces noise by as much as 80% unlike other foams, which reduce sound by only 50%, explained Dr. Mahesh, co-developer of the aerogel composites technology. For example, it can minimise noise by a truck driving by to that of a normal conversation with only 15mm of the material, 10mm less thickness unlike conventional foam.

Apart from being a good thermal and acoustic insulator, it is also non-flammable, crucial for use in high heat environments such as in oil and gas industries.

Bronx AeroSil can also withstand high compression or heavy loads. It only takes a 10cm x 10cm piece of the aerogel composite material weighing 15g to take up to 300kg weight, without being flattened.

The aerogel composites technology, which took four years to develop, had already been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Patent has been filed by NTU Singapore’s innovation and enterprise arm, NTUitive.

Bronx Creative & Design Centre (BDC) has licensed the technology with a S$7 million (US$5.2 million) joint venture, and a production plant that will be operational by 2017. It will produce aerogel composites in various forms such as sheets or panels, in line with current industry sizes.

BDC has various negotiations underway with other companies to expand the production to India and various Southeast Asia countries within the next three years.

In the first quarter of 2017, BDC will begin mass producing the aerogel composites for companies from the automotive, electronics, and oil and gas sectors.

Further research and optimisation would be carried out to improve the aerogel composite material.

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