Cabot Aerogel Releases Cool New Aerogel Coating (Pun Intended)

Cabot Aerogel, makers of the Lumira aerogel particles used in superinsulating skylights, have just announced a cool new coating that makes it possible to touch hot steam pipes, tanks, and steel surfaces without burning your hand!  The new coating is called Aerolon and is made by Tnemec Corporation, who uses Cabot’s superinsulating fine-particle Enova aerogel to make the coating.  Designed for use in plants and refineries, the coating is painted onto hot surfaces that could easily burn you if accidentally touched.  Dr. Dhaval Doshi, Global Applications Development Leader for Cabot Aerogel, says that you can actually put your hand on the hot Aerolon-coated surface for “many seconds” without burning yourself and you instead just feel a gradual increase in heat that tells you to pull back.  This is made possible by the fact that aerogels have both low thermal conductivity and low heat capacity, that is, ability to retain heat in their nanostructure, which makes heat transfer through an aerogel coating very slow.

Oh and by the way, the coating also helps prevent heat loss out of pipes and tanks, which means that heat (and money) that would otherwise be wasted goes where it’s supposed to go.  Energy literally equals money in a refinery and, believe it or not <20% of all of the pipelines in refineries are insulated due to the cost and hassle associated with installing and maintaining insulation on the pipes.  Additionally, traditional insulation materials can trap moisture underneath them, causing the pipe to rust under the insulation (corrosion under insulation, or “CUI”).  Looks like this stuff would make insulating refineries paint-on easy?

“Cool” stuff, Cabot!  Read the press release here.

3 Responses to “Cabot Aerogel Releases Cool New Aerogel Coating (Pun Intended)”

  1. Jag Singh says:

    Hello Stephen,

    Very interesting progress with aerogel! I am an industrial engineering student at the University of Regina and would like to study the effects of this application of aerogel on my project. I would really appreciate your contact information so we may discuss the future of aerogel.

    Thank you,

  2. Justin says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I’m a graduate student at the University of Michigan and am highly interested in your work for use as a potential material in my own. I am currently conducting an engineering design project that may benefit from the incorporation of aerogels (though at the moment we are using alternative methods). I was hoping it might be possible to further discuss the potential for such an application. I was unable to find your email address on the aerogel site, but if you are interested, let me know the best way to contact you so as to elaborate on the details of my project.

    • Stephen Steiner says:

      Hi Justin,

      Thanks for the post–I sent you an email, hopefully I can help!