Aerogel-Based Thermal Insulation Systems for Cryogenic-vacuum Applications

Many different aerogel-based materials are now being used in thermal insulation systems for cryogenic applications. These materials include flexible composite blankets, bulk-fill particles, and polymer composites in both evacuated and non-evacuated environments. In ambient environments, aerogels provide superior thermal performance compared to conventional polymeric foam and cellular glass insulations while offering unique advantages in avoiding problems with weathering, moisture, and mechanical damage. Aerogels are also used in layered insulation systems providing combined structural-thermal capability for cryogenic applications in either vacuum-jacketed or externally-applied insulation designs. Test data (effective thermal conductivity) include a wide range of both commercial and experimental aerogel materials. Testing was performed using laboratory cryostats and standard methods including full range vacuum (from ambient pressure to high vacuum) and boundary temperatures 293 K and 78 K. Examples of aerogel-based insulation systems are given for both evacuated and non-evacuated applications. Technical resources for further data and study are also provided.

Briefly addressed are the following topics on aerogel insulation systems:
• Production & processing methods
• Types of aerogels/composites
• Properties & phenomena
• Thermal testing
• Thermal data
• Applications & problem-solving

Presenters: James Fesmire