What is "frozen smoke"?

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giorgiana1976's profile pic

giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Scientists are concerned with the creation of a new material called aerogel, or "frozen smoke",or "blue smoke", or "solid smoke", which they believe that it will revolutionize many areas of activities.However, even if it recently was brought to public attention, the concept that forms the basis of this material highly valued, is not new, at all.

The first who tried to create aerogel was American chemist Steven Kistler in 1931, after a eccentric bet made with a fellow from his branch, in an attempt to replace the liquid from a jelly, with gas, without changing the original proportions of gel .Kistler has warmed the jelly, to evaporate the water and the other liquid components of its structure and replaced them with methanol.

He invented an ancestor of the present aerogel, a variety of frozen smoke, lightweight and very strong relative to its density. However, because of very high costs needed to produce this material, no one was attracted to that innovation and success will be forgotten for several decades.

Aerogel protects the inside spaces of explosions (bears an explosion of 1 kg of dynamite), flames (up to temperatures of 1300 degrees Celsius!), and it can absorbs oil spills.

Its applications are virtually endless, researchers discovering that it can be used to manufacture tennis rackets, but also to create highly secure costumes for cosmonauts. And if it is Platinum based , airgel can be used to produce hydrogen fuel.

Aerogel is a good insulator so that the fashion designer Hugo Boss, which had launched the winter clothes made from this material had to withdraw them because they were considered "too warm".
Aerogel  is produced by extracting water from silica gel and then replace it with a gas such as carbon dioxide. Thus, its surface has millions of tiny pores.

Only ten years ago, NASA began to consider more closely this material and make it work.

NASA has used aerogel to isolate electronic components from Mars probes and space suits worn by astronauts.

For example one of the companies that sell  aerogel insulating materials is Aspen Aerogels.

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versatilekamini | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Aerogel is nicknamed “frozen smoke” and is made by extracting water from a silica gel, then replacing it with gas such as carbon dioxide. The result is a substance that is capable of insulating against extreme temperatures and of absorbing pollutants such as crude oil.

It was invented by an American chemist for a bet in 1931, but early versions were so brittle and costly that it was largely consigned to laboratories. It was not until a decade ago that Nasa started taking an interest in the substance and putting it to a more practical use. In 1999 the space agency fitted its Stardust space probe with a mitt packed full of aerogel to catch the dust from a comet’s tail. It returned with a rich collection of samples last year.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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A new wave development in science is something known as Frozen Smoke.  It is actually a substance called aerogel.  Aerogel is a light weight solid that can filter waste.  It is very absorbent like a massive sponge only smaller.  It is able to absorb large quantities of liquid.  It is made up of silica.

Aergol has been used to clean up oil spills.  It works better than conventional methods because of its capacity to absorb such large volumes of the liquid.  Aergol also absorbs toluene and other organic compounds that end up in wastewater usually industrial plants. 


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