Scientists develop super insulating transparent gel | Current Affairs, Current Affairs 2018

Scientists develop super insulating transparent gel

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Scientists have developed a transparent heat-resistant gel using beer waste.

Named as ‘Aerogel’, the material that may one day be used to build greenhouse-like habitats for human colonised on Mars. The material which features the look like a flattened plastic contact lens, could also be used on buildings on Earth to help make huge savings on energy costs. The gel is so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on your hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing, researchers said. However, unlike similar products on the market, the material is mostly see-through.
“Transparency is an enabling feature because you can use this gel in windows, and you could use it in extraterrestrial habitats,” said Ivan Smalyukh, a professor at University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) in the US. “You could harvest sunlight through that thermally-insulating material and store the energy inside, protecting yourself from those big oscillations in temperature that you have on Mars or on the moon,” said Smalyukh.
The group’s gel is also cheaper to produce because it comes from beer waste. Aerogels are at least 90 per cent gas by weight, but their defining feature is air. Their thin films are made up of crisscrossing patterns of solid material that trap air inside billions of tiny pores, similar to the bubbles in bubble wrap. It is that trapping capacity that makes them such good insulators

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