Aerogel fiber is a new type of functional clothing fiber with excellent thermal insulation, moisture absorption, and breathability. As the name suggests, aerogel fiber refers to textile fibers made from aerogels. As we all know, a gel is an elastic solid formed by colloidal particles in a sol or solution forming a spatial network structure under the action of a dispersing medium. If water is the dispersing medium, it is called a hydrogel; if gas is the dispersing medium, we call it an aerogel.
Air is the best insulating material, such as the fluffiness of the down, which is an important criterion for testing its quality. More than 90% of the aerogel is air, so aerogel fibers have extremely high thermal insulation performance. According to relevant experimental data, the thermal insulation value of polyester aerogel fibers far exceeds the national standard for extremely low thermal conductivity: ≤0.02W/(MK).
At the same time, aerogel fibers are also lightweight. Because the specific gravity of aerogels is very light, between 10-30 kg per cubic meter, aerogel yarn is also very light. Compared with ordinary clothing fibers, its thickness is only half, and the density is as low as 0.003 grams per square centimeter.
In addition, aerogel fibers are filled with nano air clusters, and the specific surface area of the fibers is much larger than that of porous hollow ultrafine fibers. They have good moisture absorption and breathability and are more convenient for downstream processes such as printing and dyeing in the industrial chain.
Applications of Aerogel Fiber
Aerogel fibers with extremely high thermal insulation, moisture absorption, and breathability have a wide range of applications. It is obvious that they can be used to make cold-proof clothing, sportswear, etc. With the further development of textile fiber technology, products made of clothing aerogel fibers, such as parts of spacesuits, can be applied to the aerospace field.
Outdoor enthusiasts, mountain climbers, adventurers, and cross-country travelers cannot avoid their own safety issues in complex outdoor environments, especially in low-temperature situations. According to laboratory data, the thermal insulation performance of aerogel fibers at low temperatures is 2.8 times that of cotton cloth, and its heat enthalpy value can reach 162 J/g, which can maintain thermal insulation performance for a long time in extreme environments from -196°C to 300°C. Using aerogel fibers makes cold-proof clothing that can keep warm in extremely cold temperatures.
At the same time, the extremely high thermal insulation, moisture absorption, and breathability of aerogel fibers are also very suitable for use in thermal underwear and other products. The biggest problem with ordinary thermal underwear is that it is warm but not breathable. In winter, when entering a room from the outdoors, the temperature rises, and the moisture generated by the human body is difficult to dissipate, resulting in a significant decrease in the comfort of the wearer. However, aerogel fibers made by Hubei Decon can perfectly solve the above problems.
The applications of aerogel fibers are very extensive, in addition to outdoor clothing and thermal underwear, they can also be used in bulletproof vests, tents, sleeping bags, knee pads, yoga clothes, and other fields.
Aerogel Fiber Market
At present, the use of aerogel fibers in the textile and clothing market is mainly concentrated on winter cold-proof and thermal insulation products. Traditionally, this clothing sub-market is mostly occupied by cotton, down, wool, cashmere, and acrylic products.
Industry insiders know that the thermal insulation performance of clothing fiber materials is directly proportional to the internal static air content of the fiber materials, inversely proportional to the fiber diameter, and inversely proportional to the overall material density. The aerogel fibers developed by Hubei Decon have a 98% ultra-high porosity and a relatively high specific surface area, so theoretically, they are currently the best textile fibers for thermal insulation. As a result, aerogel fibers may also be a direction for the development of thermal insulation fibers in the future.