AN aerogel composite foam that is more environmentally friendly to manufacture and has superior heat and noise insulation properties compared with current insulation materials has been developed by scientists in Singapore, and should enter mass production next year, according to a statement from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
NTU Associate Professor Sunil Chandrankant Joshi and his former PhD student Mahesh Sachithanadam worked for four years to develop the new material, which is primarily composed of silica.
According to the researchers, the new foam insulates against heat 2.6 times better than conventional foam insulation, which could lead to significant energy savings in buildings and vehicles. It also blocks up to 80 percent of outside noise, the scientists added.
A Singapore-based company, Bronx Creative & Design Center Pte Ltd, has licensed the aerogel composite technology with a joint venture of S$7 million (about $5.2 million) and a production plant that will be operational by 2017. The new aerogel composite has been branded Bronx AeroSil and is expected to hit the market early next year for applications in building and construction, oil and gas and the automotive industry.
According to Sunil, the foam will be easy to install and use as it is thinner than conventional foam and yet has better performance. It is also non-flammable, resilient and can withstand high compression or heavy loads. In addition, it is greener to manufacture as its production does not require high heat treatment or toxic materials, he said.