Silica aerogel is synthetic nanostructured porous ceramic with high porosity and low bulk density. It is commonly produced from a wet-gel through a series of special drying procedures for minimising the drying capillarity.
Aerogels are well known for their outstanding fire-resistance, wide range of working temperature, and low thermal conductivity (λ < 0.022W/mK). A waterproof aerogel could provide additional protection from the ambient environmental conditions.
Aerogel was initially developed by S. S. Kistler in1931 and made by replacement of the liquid in a gel with gas without causing the gel's pores to collapse. One of the remarkable application of silica aerogel is NASA's Stardust Mission which used aerogel collectors to capture stardust with high velocity in the space. The silica aerogel has also been used in NASA's Mars Rover to insulate the rover body at extreme conditions on Mars.
Since 2011, Xiao Han has conceived an idea of aerogel preparation based on the conventional ambient pressure drying synthesis of aerogels and developed his idea through his PhD project and Research Associate position at Newcastle University from 2012 to 2020.
The commercialisation of aerogels is majorly driven by the demand for the better insulation material with better fire-safety in the civil application and market. Dragonfly Insulation Ltd has developed a simple and easy set-up manufacturing process of aerogels with high energy-efficiency to offer affordable aerogel products including raw aerogel granules and powders and aerogel panels.
Dragonfly Insulation Ltd is currently scaling up the manufacturing of aerogels from bench-scale prototypes to mass production.
Dragonfly Insulation Ltd is a spin-out from Newcastle University, has been established to scale up aerogel manufacture based on the innovative and simplified manufacturing process with low energy consumption to offer various forms of aerogel products.
Our team consists of experienced business managers and scientific researchers. The commercialisation team has been initially developed through the Innovate UK Innovation-to-Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) NxNW programme and the Northern Accelerator. Dr Xiao Han has been selected to present this innovative manufacturing of aerogels at STEM for Britain 2019 in Parliament. In 2020, Dragonfly Insulation Ltd has been successful in securing Innovate UK funding with a matched investment which enables our company to initiate a scale-up manufacturing project.