Google Nexus 7 Body Made from Aerogel

For everyone who still thinks aerogels are blue and brittle, think again!  The engineers at Aerogel Technologies have recently released a video of an ultralight Google Nexus 7 body made out of a mechanically strong aerogel called Airloy X103-H.  In the video, they compare the back panel of the Nexus 7, composed of ABS/PC composite (that’s acrylonitrile butadiene styrene/polycarbonate composite, the standard non-descript plastic used to make laptop bodies and other consumer electronics) weighing in at 42 g, and the same panel made out of Airloy X103-H, weighing in at only 18 g. And this isn’t 1980’s aerogel either–it’s strong, somewhat flexible, and feels like plastic.  Take a look!

6 Responses to “Google Nexus 7 Body Made from Aerogel”

  1. Chris says:

    Why would you want the back panel to be insulating? The CPU will get hot and need to dissipate the heat. Metals are used as heat sinks since they are great thermal conductors. A back panel made of super insulating material will only serve to seal in all that terrible CPU heat, potentially resulting in unsafe operating conditions.

    • Stephen Steiner says:

      The idea was to reduce the mass of the device and steer heat where the engineers want to dissipate it, rather than trapping heat inside. Additionally in an application like this the Airloy panel was pretty thin, so superinsulating the CPU to death is a pretty minimal risk.

  2. Fan Ye says:

    Hello,

    We are interested in this material for one of our product requires light weight. We have a few questions:

    1) Can this material be injection mold like ABS plastic?
    2) How is the cost compare to ABS for the same part?

    Thanks

    Fan Ye
    781-354-7480
    SUNS International LLC

    • Stephen Steiner says:

      Hi Fan,

      Airloys and other strong aerogels are generally not injection molded right now, they are either molded to spec or machined to shape. Airloys and other strong aerogels are performance materials so the price point is closer to something like PTFE or polyimides. In any case, I’d recommend you contact Aerogel Technologies to get their help with it.

  3. steven says:

    In your mass comparison – I noticed that the orginal back was not as thin down as the white panel or is the white panel thicker on the outer regions. So in this demo does not prove to me the mass savings – unless you can tell me the two geomertries are of the same volume. I be intersted to know this fact.

    • Stephen Steiner says:

      The two parts were the same volume and machined from the same CAD file. Except for some minor tolerance differences, they should be the same.

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