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Polyimide-based aerogel shows promise as composite core material

Aerogels have long been desirable as composite materials on account of their lightweight nature and high thermal insulating  properties, but existing aerogels are made from particulate silica, which inhibits their adoption in plastics-based composite structures. To overcome this issue, a solution based on polyimide (PI) resin is now available that is claimed to be a highly capable core material that is extremely easy to incorporate.

May 5, 2015

2 Min Read
Polyimide-based aerogel shows promise as composite core material

Aerogels have long been desirable as composite materials on account of their lightweight nature and high thermal insulating  properties, but existing aerogels are made from particulate silica, which inhibits their adoption in plastics-based composite structures. To overcome this issue, a solution based on polyimide (PI) resin is now available that is claimed to be a highly capable core material that is extremely easy to incorporate.

Polyimide-based aerogel comes in film stock format in addition to stock shape materials.

From Blueshift International Materials, Inc. (San Antonio, TX), AeroZero polyimide aerogel reportedly combines the physical and toughness properties of plastic films with the insulation properties of aerogels to create a strong yet lightweight, thin, clean and flexible insulator. AeroZero is said to work with an array of applications and is ideal for a variety of industries, including aerospace, oil and gas, RF-radar, automotive and building materials.

"AeroZero was developed to meet the growing need for a dust-free aerogel solution and to support the industry trend toward lightweight constructions," said Tim Burbey, president, Blueshift International Materials. "Until now, high-end insulation materials have been made from composite structures that integrate a varying combination of materials such as foams, glass fibers and particulate silica aerogels. AeroZero enables product designers to create lighter and higher performing products with a simple and straightforward approach. AeroZero can be easily incorporated into composite structures just like existing polymer films and stock shapes are today."

AeroZero provides superior thermal and acoustic insulation, high thermal stability and low dielectric constant. The product's 100 percent polyimide polymer construction eliminates dusting and the requirement for dangerous handling protocols, making it incredibly clean and safe. It also delivers on reliability, flexibility, toughness and strength. AeroZero can withstand extreme high temperatures as well as cryogenic temperatures, providing aerogel-level thermal conductivity and excellent acoustic insulation. As an aerogel, AeroZero has outstanding insulating characteristics, second only to vacuums, and it boasts a density approximately 85 percent lower than traditional polyimides. Density is 0.15 g/cm3.

AeroZero is apparently the only all polymer film-form and stock-shape aerogel on the market. AeroZero is provided in rolls up to 3 ft. wide and varying lengths, and is available in thicknesses of 5 mil, 10 mil, and fiber reinforced 10 mil. The stock shapes are available in geometries up to 12" x 12" and 2" thick.

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