Foam Materials

Aerogel: New Foam Material Shows off Remarkable Ultra-Low Density

Scientists have recently produced new foam material that demonstrates amazing strength and enormous surface area. This unique material belongs to the category of aerogels christened "frozen smoke" due to their optical semi-transparency. They are produced from a gel in which the liquid component is replaced with a gas, producing fabric that's now the world’s lightest solid foam material.

The Multi-walled Carbon Nanotube Aerogel possibly could be used in various sensors to detect pollutants and toxins; also in chemical reactors and as electronics components.

Foam materials enjoy a long history; they are primarily made from silicon, metal oxides and different polymers. Currently, foam materials are utilized as insulation in buildings industry; they also found use in tennis racquets, foams to clean up oil spills, and used for packaging.

In the past scientists have not been hugely successful in producing reliable foam, or aerogel material using carbon nanotubes, however recently they were able to implement a wet gel technique known as Well-Dispersed Multi-walled Wet Carbon Nanotube Aerogel. Their efforts were rewarded with creation of the lightest ever solid MWCNT monolith with a density reaching as low as 4 mg/cm3 after the liquid part was removed from wet foam material.

MWCNT aerogels infused with a plastic are spring flexible and stretch thousands of times. For example, if we decided to stretch all nanotubes of one-ounce cube and placed them on a flat surface, they would cover the area close to few football fields. The MWCNT foam material also conducts electricity which opens a door into electronics and offers them great potential to be used as components for different kind of sensors.