People are seen adding layers of insulation to a brick wall. How would you feel if there was a wall with a built-in insulation system? That would certainly make our lives easier. That is what these newly developed aerogel bricks aim to do. The self-insulating bricks have been developed by a Swiss research group Empa and they claim that these are the best insulating brick ever made.
Aerogels are manufactured materials in which the liquid component of the gel is replaced by a gas. These are not only extremely lightweight but have thermal insulation properties and are even used in jackets. Scientist Jannis Wernery is leading the Empa team which has developed a paste composed of aerogel particles that can be stuffed into hollow clay bricks.
When the aerogel bricks were compared to other available insulated bricks, it was found that they provide three times better insulation. If their insulation was to match the aerogel bricks, the walls would have to be made 35% thicker than they normally are.
When compared to normal non-insulating clay bricks, the aerogel wall that would only be 20 cms thick, the counterpart brick wall would be 2 meters thick. That means the whole house would be just walls. Even though these revolutionary bricks serve a great purpose, they do not come cheap.
The aerogel used in the bricks is quite expensive and Wernery has estimated that one square meter of the wall would set you back around $521. However, he is hopeful that as the technology is explored further, the price of aerogel will fall and these bricks would be more affordable.
I think all of us will be impatiently waiting for that day.