Welcome to the Wonderful World of Aerogels
Aerogel Technologies, LLC is the world’s leading manufacturer of mechanically strong aerogel materials and monolithic aerogels, leading online distributor of aerogel materials, and leading provider of custom aerogel solutions. Learn more about our company and its technologies in the video below.
Facilities and Location
Aerogel Technologies is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA with sales offices, research and development, and manufacturing in the same facility. In 2016, we opened our facility to materials and chemical technologies startups in the Boston area to create a new type of incubator called Gel Laboratories designed to accelerate such startups in a way that is compatible with the unique time and resource constraints of these companies.
For more information about Gel Laboratories, please contact us.
Below is a brief history of our adventures in commercializing the world’s lightest solid materials. We hope you enjoy our story. The best is yet to come.
Aerogel Technologies was founded in 2004 with the initial goal of making aerogel materials readily accessible to the public. At the time the company was founded, it was virtually impossible for the everyday person to obtain aerogel materials of any type, be it monolithic aerogels, fiber-reinforced aerogel blankets, or aerogel particles, despite the fact that Aspen Aerogels and Cabot Aerogel, the worldâ€™s two largest aerogel manufacturers, had already been commercializing aerogel blankets and particles for several years at that point. Indeed, Aspen Aerogels’s and Cabot’s materials were primarily available only on a business-to-business basis to select industrial partners and government labs, and obtaining sample sizes and sub-bulk quantities of their materials was difficult and limited.Â Meanwhile, monolithic (shaped) aerogels were virtually impossible to obtain, with the exception of small, irregular pieces of silica aerogels smuggled out of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and sold on eBay, and expensive parts made by a few small entities around the world such as Airglass SE and Ocellus Technologies.
Aerogel Technologies saw an opportunity to commercialize monolithic aerogels as a complementary form factor to particles and blankets for applications such as scientific research, high-temperature engineering, optics, education, and novelty, with a goal of eventually making transparent, superinsulating aerogel monoliths for windows. Accordingly, Aerogel Technologies set out to develop an automated platform for mass-production of aerogel monoliths that would meet the demand for aerogel monoliths at a price point that customers would be willing to pay.Â In support of this, from 2004-2008 the company developed an automated supercritical drying system, natural language processing automation software, and manufacturing strategies for reliably producing shaped, monolithic aerogels of several compositions including silica, hydrophobic silica, resorcinol-formaldehyde, and carbon in easy-to-make, useful form factors. Together, these innovations helped make possible production of monolithic aerogels at a low price point for the first time.
A Unique Opportunityâ€”2009
Beginning in mid-2009, the company acquired a series of patent applications for several mechanically-strong aerogel compositions including the foundational patents for polymer-crosslinked aerogels, or “x-aerogels”, as well as patent applications for a number of emerging mechanically-strong organic aerogel compositions.Â Combined with our company’s expertise in monolithic aerogel production, these patents provided the foundation for a bold new future for monolithic aerogel materials, enabling materials that combine the strength and durability expected of engineering materials like plastics and composites with the incredible lightness, thermal superinsulating properties, and soundproofing properties of legacy aerogels.
Early Manufacturing Activitiesâ€”2009-2012
In 2009, Aerogel Technologies began manufacturing its first legacy monolithic aerogel products out of its first manufacturing facility in Beacon, NY and, in December 2009, launched BuyAerogel.com, an ecommerce site for selling aerogel materials directly to end users, offering our own monolithic aerogels, aerogel particles made by Cabot Aerogel, and aerogel blankets made by Aspen Aerogels for sale to the public for the first time. Over the period from 2010-2012, the company produced and sold thousands of units of aerogel in addition to securing several large-volume orders for aerogel parts; expanded its manufacturing and research facilities; expanded its product lines to include additional shapes, compositions, and form factors; and completed numerous custom solutions contracts for government laboratories, university groups, and private companies around the world. In May 2012, the company relocated to a larger production facility in Boston, MA with expanded manufacturing, research, and characterization capabilities and began expansion of its team. In late 2012, Aerogel Technologies began sale of the world’s first commercially available mechanically strong aerogels under the tradename AirloyÂ® and, in the following year, began development of large (30-cm) Airloy panels for use as lightweight plastics replacements.Â As online sales and custom solutions continued to grow, the company servedÂ numerous multibillion dollar companies with aerogel technology solutions. By 2014, the company was recognized in an aerogel industry analyst report by MarketsandMarkets as being among the top five aerogel manufacturers in the world.
A Breakthrough in Scalabilityâ€”2013
Beginning in 2013, researchers at Aerogel Technologies discovered a method for manufacturing mechanically strong aerogels outside of a supercritical dryer without compromising the resulting aerogel’s materials properties. This represented a major technological breakthrough for aerogels, paving the way for a future where mechanically strong aerogels of unlimited dimensions could be manufactured at prices comparable to other performance plastics. This technology, which the company calls the Stelmakh process, became the basis for two international patent filings and the beginning of our capability to manufacture aerogel materials without being confined to parts that fit the dimensions of expensive supercritical drying high-pressure vessels. With this new technological capability, the company began bringing additional Airloy formulations to market now in large dimensions and began transitioning its technologies to pilot scale.
Not Just For NASA Anymoreâ€”2015
In late 2015, Aerogel Technologies secured a license for NASAâ€™s x-aerogel/polymer-crosslinked aerogel patents, a portfolio of extensional technologies based on our foundational patents for the worldâ€™s first mechanically strong aerogels that NASA has spent millions of dollars developing. In 2016, Aerogel Technologies was also successfully awarded licenses for NASAâ€™s mechanically strong polyimide and polyamide aerogels for monolithic forms, with exclusivity in many fields. Our relationship with NASA continues to this day and has proven to be a tremendous and mutually beneficial partnership.
In 2018, Aerogel Technologies secured a private investment to finance construction of the world’s first pilot plant for manufacturing large mechanically strong aerogel panels. In May 2018, the company relocated to an expanded 100,000-sq-ft facility in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, MA and began construction of an automated plant for mass production of its Airloy products.
Today, Aerogel Technologies maintains the worldâ€™s most comprehensive portfolio of mechanically strong aerogel material technologies. Our ecommerce site BuyAerogel.com is the world’s leading online source for aerogel materials. Our Airloy Ultramaterials are now available in sizes and quantities demanded by the most challenging engineering applications in markets including aviation interiors, automotive components, and engineering materials and are creating incredible value propositions anywhere weight and cost is coupled.
Aerogel Technologies is working hard develop new aerogel materials and applications for aerogels. Our manufacturing capabilities are rapidly expanding to address multibillion dollar opportunities in aviation, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, construction, and engineering materials. We are currently scaling our manufacturing capabilities to produce Airloy materials in volumes and at price points demanded by markets where performance plastics are used today, and expect to continue to lead the field of strong aerogels for years to come.
Thank you for your interest in aerogels. We are excited about the future we are creating and hope you are too.Â Learn more about our products on this site, or experience our products firsthand at BuyAerogel.com and let us help you discover how aerogels and Airloy Ultramaterials can enable you to engineer limitless possibilities.