Company: Aspen Aerogels
Source: Greentech Media
This stuff definitely insulates.
Aspen Aerogels sent us a sample of SpaceLoft, insulation for commercial buildings and homes made from aerogels. Aerogels are essentially blankets of air pockets. Air doesn’t transmit heat well, so materials that can capture and isolate air bubbles tend to insulate fairly well. The company has a famous demo where a blowtorch is applied to one side of an aerogel blanket.
We didn’t have a blowtorch, but we did have a gas-burning stove handy, so we flicked a burner on high, held the SpaceLoft sample just above the flame, and touched the other side. I didn’t feel a thing. The heat was searing where the flame was peeking over the side of the sample, but the surface of the material remained essentially at room temperature. The sample is only a centimeter thick and the filming took almost five minutes.