- Sep 18, 2012 at 6:08 am #1913259Nick GMember
The BPL crowd is never going to get excited about a new product/project unless you tell us what the weight is going to be.Sep 18, 2012 at 8:17 am #1913280
The entire jacket weighs just over 2 pounds. Most of that is obviously the nylon exterior shell. When I started the project I decided to use a very durable high performance exterior shell, but now i am thinking the price point it to high for early adapters. I am thinking about making less expensive mid layer that is insulated with Aerogel. Whats your thoughts on that?Sep 18, 2012 at 8:21 am #1913282
There is not a lot of air in the Aerogel panels. We basically laminate the Aerogel so that its flexible. adding any gas would increase the width of the panels and perhaps restrict the movement. Aerogel performance is also superior. If we did want more insulation it would be easier to just add more Aerogel then gas.Sep 18, 2012 at 8:50 am #1913291Tom LyonsMember
@towalyLocale: Smoky Mtns.
I'm pretty sure that Klymit has that Argon gas thing patented already, anyway.
I think the aerogel thing is pretty interesting. I'm going to keep an eye on that.Sep 18, 2012 at 8:55 am #1913292David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Aerogels are mostly air – there is very little solid material in there, hence their very low density and high insulation value.
I'm pretty sure Jeremey is referring to the air in the voids of the aerogel. If that could be replaced with argon (during manufacture?), then, yes, it would be a better insulator for the same thickness and at only slightly higher weight (so small a difference as to be trivial compared to fabrics, etc.
But I'm not sure how you'd reliably seal the aerogel from the atmosphere to retain the argon.
Speaking of sealing the aerogel from the atmosphere – how will you deal with its hydrophilic nature? By using a treated, hydrophobic aerogel? And/or having it very well sealed?Sep 18, 2012 at 10:13 am #1913319
Sorry i misunderstood the question. And yes the Aerogel is completed laminated. For it to be flexible it needs to be laminated so that the particles don't float away.Sep 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm #1913375Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
I've used Aspen's Spaceloft, Cryogel, and Pyrogel blankets and granular aerogel from Cabot in my lab and at home in MYOG projects, and it's my opinion that it will never outperform down or synthetic fiber insulation for jackets or sleeping bags.
As far as I know, all of the aerogel that has ever been used in outdoor gear to date (in POE pads, Burton jackets, insoles, gloves, etc.) has been aerogel "blanket", mostly "Spaceloft" made by Aspen Aerogels. I have a roll of this material at home and I sold some of it here on BPL a while ago. Under controlled laboratory conditions, aerogel blanket has a maximum R-value of R10/inch of thickness. The 9mm thick material weighs about 20 oz/square yard. So, an aerogel sleeping pad with an R-value of R10 would need to be constructed of a material that has a minimum areal density of about 55 oz/ square yard. Closed cell foams have a higher specific R-value (R value per unit weight) than aerogel blanket, and inflatable pads insulated with down or synthetic fibers are far higher.
POE has never been honest about the R-values of its pads. Roger Caffin collaborated with another author (whose name I can't remember) on a BPL article that reported measurements of the R-value of POE's aerogel pads. The measured R-values were less than 1/3 of the R-values claimed by POE (POE claimed R20, actual was R6).
Richard Nisley described some calculations in an old post (which I can't find now) in which he compared aerogel to down. He reported that high fill power, fully lofted down has about 50 times the R-value per unit weight of aerogel. An aerogel sleeping bag would be thinner than a down one of comparable warmth, but it would be completely non-compressible (like a sleeping bag made from closed cell foam), and it would weigh forty pounds. The same will be true of any aerogel jacket. Any cheap down jacket will be much warmer per unit weight than any aerogel insulated jacket.
Also, flexion of aerogel blankets separates the aerogel from the polyester fiber matrix. If you hold a piece of aerogel blanket with two hands and bend it fifty times, most of the aerogel falls out as clouds of dust. This is not a problem for pipeline or bulding insulation applications, which only subject the material to limited flexion during installation, but for apparel this is a problem. I examined the aerogel panels from a used Burton jacket a couple of years ago, and all of the aerogel had settled out of the blanket in a heap. The aerogel panel had become nothing but a layer of polyester felt with a pouch of aerogel dust at the bottom. The same will happen with the jacket discussed in this thread. It is an intrinsic property of the material. Many clever lamination/encapsulation methods have been used to limit the loss of aerogel dust from aerogel blanket materials, but even with encapsulation, flexion will cause aerogel dust to eventually settle to the bottom of the envelope, leaving only a polyester fiber mat at the top.Lamination/encapsulation does not inhibit the movement of aerogel particles within the polyester fiber mat. The aerogel particles will still eventually sink to the bottom.
Aerogel sounds fancy, and axioms like "it's the worlds lightest solid" are heard frequently, but compared to down, synthetic fiber insulation, and closed-cell foams, aerogel is very heavy. It's also not compressible, and any mechanical strain turns it to dust. Aerogel jacket prototypes were first announced in the media almost twenty years ago. If aerogel truly were what we all hoped it would be, the market would be flooded with aerogel apparel by now. Every few years, another company tries to use aerogel blankets as apparel insulation (Corpo Nove, Burton, Hanes/Champion, etc.), and they were all commercial failures because conventional apparel insulation performs better. The high-tech appeal of aerogel has not yet been able to motivate consumers to buy jackets that are stiff, heavy, expensive, and less warm than conventional down jackets.
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