Non-toxic, non-combustible aerogel has been made into a paste to fill bricks for insulation that is a third more effective.
A materials science and technology company based in Switzerland, Empa, has created the Aerobrick to vastly improve building insulation. Aerogels are solid materials made from nano air pockets, and the research team behind the new brick has already used aerogel in a new type of insulating plaster, which allows for historical buildings to be renovated without altering their appearance. The scientists have now found a way to change the gel into a paste to easily fill building bricks.
The aerogel-filled bricks absorb almost no moisture and are vapor permeable, as well as able to withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees celsius. In tests, the Aerobrick has been up to one-third more efficient compared to one of the more commonly used new-style filled bricks. At the moment, the high cost of producing the aerogel paste makes widespread use of the Aerobrick unlikely. However, researchers say they anticipate the price falling significantly within the next few years.
The multi-faceted aspect of the construction industry means innovations range from wearables for improved safety to new materials and designs for wellbeing and sustainability. How might building standards be set for location-specific carbon neutrality and material use?