Before You Begin

Supercritical drying is, in our opinion, the most exciting part of aerogel production and is something that, with careful attention to directions, appropriate supervision, and safety in mind, can be done in a garage or high school lab!

In this section you will find two designs for a “manuclave”, that is, a “manually-controlled autoclave”, which can be used to supercritically dry aerogels by Hunt process CO2 drying. One design is smaller but less expensive and easier to build while the other lets you make larger aerogels but is more expensive and requires professional welding. Either design can be fitted with a special high-pressure window so you can watch and understand the supercritical drying process directly!

Stuff You’ve Got to Agree to Before Proceeding

These designs and derivatives thereof are actually covered by a U.S. patent. has arranged it so that you may use these designs under a Creative Commons License in pursuit of making aerogels of your own, but only as long as you:

  • Don’t use the design to build a machine for sale
  • Don’t use the design to make materials (including aerogels) for sale
  • Don’t use the design for evil
  • Assume all risks and liabilities associated with implementing the design and understand that neither nor the patent holder is responsible for any costs, damages, injuries, or (Heaven forbid!) death that may result as a consequence of the design or advice given on
  • Reference where the design came from when presenting your work at school, work, a science fair, a conference, on the Internet, etc. (see Citing in a Bibliography)
  • Are over 18 and are responsible or are working under the supervision of someone who is over 18 and responsible

All of this is in the spirit of open source. See the full legal terms and conditions for details.

You are able to:

  • Use the design for doing a science project
  • Use the design for scientific research
  • Donate stuff you make to a person or team, as long as the receipients adhere to the limitations above
  • Improve upon the design and teach others about your improvements on’s discussion boards
  • Have fun making aerogels of your very own!

Capisce? Then let’s get started.

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