Wednesday, August 10, 2022

This thin foam keeps vehicles, buildings cooler, quieter

Singapore, Nov 27 (IANS) Indian-origin researchers from Singapore have developed a new material that will make vehicles and buildings cooler and quieter as compared to the current insulation materials in the market.

Known as aerogel composites, this new foam insulates against heat 2.6 times better than a conventional insulation foam.

The product, which is expected to hit the market by early 2017, was compared to traditional materials used in soundproofing. It was found that it can block out 80 per cent of outside noise — 30 per cent more than the usual ones.

The foam is made from silica aerogels with a few other additives. The details of the new material were published in peer-reviewed Scientific Journals.

A patent has been filed for by Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) innovation and enterprise arm NTUitive.

A local company, Bronx Creative and Design Centre Pte Ltd (BDC), has licensed the aerogel composites technology with a joint venture of 7 million Singapore dollars ($5.2 million) and will produce the products in various forms such as sheets or panels, in line with current industry sizes.

According to Sunil Chandrankant Joshi, Associate Professor at the NTU, the foam will be easy to install and use as it is thinner than conventional foam.

“Our NTU thin foam is also greener to manufacture as it does not require high heat treatment or toxic materials in its production. It is, therefore, eco-friendly and less hazardous to the environment,” said Joshi, who is from NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Meanwhile, BDC has various negotiations underway with other companies to expand the production to India and various Southeast Asia countries within the next three years.

The new aerogel composite has been branded “Bronx AeroSil” by BDC and is being developed for various applications by Mahesh Sachithanadam, Chief Technology Officer at BDC.

“For both heat insulation and sound-proofing, we can now use less material to achieve the same effect, which will also lower the overall material and logistic costs,” said Sachithanadam, who was Joshi’s PhD student at the university.

Apart from being a good thermal and acoustic insulator, the new material is also non-flammable — a crucial factor for materials used in high heat environments common in the oil and gas industries.

It is also resilient and can withstand high compression or heavy loads.

A small 10cm by 10cm piece of the aerogel composite material weighing just 15 grams can take up to 300 kg of weight, maintaining its shape without being flattened.

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