The flexible mat is made by taking the powder and layering it between sheets of fiberglass. This increases the weight dramatically, but it is compressible and retains much of the insulating abilities.
Another group was trying to make the original aerogels stronger and not so brittle. They came up with a stronger material, but now it only insulates as well as styrofoam.
The nanogel Aerogel blanket has the most possibilities. Looks like it is about half a pound per square meter (at 3mm thickness) but with very low conductivity, even when compressed. Now if only I could get them to send me a roll (20 inches wide, 100 meters long) for some tests
The datasheet shows, if I'm reading it correctly, that he fabric has about the same insulating ability as down. It wouldn't lose any of this insulating abilitiy do to moisture or compression like down, but you would still need some sort of loft greater than 3mm. the weight you give would make a 3mm sheet weight 8 oz/yd2, so a quilt of 3yd2 would weigh 24oz, as much as down if not more. I agree that it would be better to actually have a piece of actual material to work with.
HeadC4U, were you going to ask about samples from the manufacturer? How did that go?
“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett
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Visit my house and I'll show you an ERV at work. I don't heat the house with a candle, but it is extremely efficient. The insulation is fiberglass batting with a reflective vapor barrier, and everything is caulked tight... windows, outside wall studs, sheathing, no air leaks at all. Even the crawl space is airtight and insulated.
"We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
i've got samples coming, we'll see how it turns out.
i'm thinking since it's a blanket-type material, it might be more useful to lay on it or put it between a double layer, looks more flexible than ccf. it doesn't sound very compressible at all though. the guy i talked to made it sound like it was similar to thick felt, which doesn't make it seem very compressible.
I found another article about aerogels where a lab in India has made some aerogels flexible and compressible. Weight is 40kg/m3 (much more [20 times more] than down) and thermal 0.02W/mK (similar to down and air). 900 cubic inches/ounce = 1.9222 kg/m3
I'm starting to think that all these materials have similar thermal conductivity to air because that's basically what they are. I read something about some perlite that has the same thermal conductivity, but under a vacuum it was twice as good at 0.00137 W/mK. The problem with vacuums is that the material needs some structure, so compressibility is out, and they probably aren't durable enough for the rugged outdoors.
So, no matter what, any material that is lightweight because it is filled mostly with air will need 3-4 inches of loft or thickness. With that in mind, the materials will all need to take up the same volume, so the big factor is weight. It's just really hard to beat down on weight. And down is comfortable to have pressed against you while you sleep. I'm impressed with the abilities of down more and more the better educated I get on the subject.