Bricks with transparent airgel can replace windows and insulated walls
The Swiss research group Empa has developed a new type of building material based on airgel. They used a glass body construction with epoxy bridges and spacers, inside which is placed a silicon airgel. It turns out an opaque, but accessible architecture for the penetration of sunlight – such “bricks” can be used instead of ceramic ones in the construction of buildings.
Scientists pursued two goals. First, to achieve strength, which now reaches 44.9 megapascals, exceeding those of other building materials. Secondly, to increase the thermal insulation properties, because the airgel itself does not differ from them. As a result, we got a very curious building material that can replace both bricks in the walls and glass in the windows.
The high cost of airgel bricks is partly offset by their versatility. They are opaque, and therefore cannot act as an analogue of windows, however, a spacious wall made of such material transmits enough light to passively illuminate the room in sunny weather. Translucent airgel bricks can be combined in masonry with ordinary ceramic bricks, creating an unusual interior design. In addition, there are savings on thermal insulation, which becomes an important factor in view of world energy prices.