Today I would like to tell you about the lightest material on planet Earth – aerogel. As a matter of fact, there exist quite a lot of kinds of aerogel. Some of them consist of metal oxides, for instance aluminium oxides. Others can consist of carbon tubes and graphenes. By the way such an aerographene is a few times lighter than air.
source/image: Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!
As you can see this material is very fragile and it crumbled when it was transported in the package. When aerogel crumbles are put on paper sheet, it can be seen that it looks translucent and very light and it is almost invisible against a light background. read more Thoisoi2
Aerogel’s density is extremely small about one tenth of a gram per milliliter. The density of aerogels of higher quality can even be compared to that of air. It’s not surprising because aerogel mostly consists of air.
Now try to imagine that all water in such a material has been substituted with air. Roughly speaking, this is what aerogel looks like from inside – small porous material filled with air or another gas. It is quite easy to make aerogel. First, regular silica gel has to be made for instance by mixing together tetraethyl orthosilicate and ammonia solutions in methanol medium.