Insulating Aerogel Takes Top Honor


A versatile hydrophobic silica aerogel used in a remarkable range of insulating, building and coating products has been named "2013 Best Overall Innovation” by a panel of chemical experts.

Cabot Corp.’s aerogel technology, likened to "frozen smoke," was the unanimous choice of the six-judge panel of the 2013 ICIS Innovation Awards.

The product also was named “Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit” by ICIS, a global chemical and energy news and market information firm.

The winners were announced Oct. 21.

'Frozen Smoke'

Boston, MA-based Cabot calls its lightweight aerogel technology "frozen smoke," describing it as a high-performance insulating solid material in particle form. The particles are composed of more than 90 percent air trapped within a network of amorphous silica that prevents heat transfer.

Cabot aerogel products can be used in plaster, boards, daylighting systems, tensile roofing, and coatings for commercial, residential, historical and industrial construction. Aerogel has found a home in polycarbonate panels, highly insulating thermally insulative coatings, sub-sea pipe-in-pipe insulation and personal care items, according to ICIS.

Fixit 222
Fixit AG

Cabot aerogel is a component of Fixit 222, an insulating plaster introduced this year by Fixit AG.

The company has commercially produced aerogel since 2003 in Frankfurt, Germany, and has sold it worldwide under the Lumira and Enova trade names.

'Huge Potential'

The range of aerogel products for building and construction is positioned to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon footprint and increase cost savings globally, ICIS reports.

The "stand-out" product offers "huge potential to improve the insulation values of a whole range of building materials," ICIS said. "The judges were impressed with the novelty of the innovation and the potential of the environmental benefits arising from the use of aerogels."

Aerogel has been produced since the 1930s. Nevertheless, Cabot's work builds on technology acquired from Germany's Hoechst, which had a silica business, and technology developed by Dow Corning, which had also been working on aerogels for silicone reinforcement.

Partnerships, Products

Cabot’s technology has been used in products developed in collaboration with Rockwool, Sto Corp., Tnemec, Fixit, and Birdair-Taiyo, ICIS reported in an award supplement.

© / picturejohn

Cabot's technology has been used in insulative coatings designed for pipes.

Most recently, the technology was featured in a new aerogel-based insulating plaster, Fixit 222, manufactured by Swiss building products company Fixit AG.

Fixit 222 insulating plaster has been found to be the best choice for insulation while maintaining the external character of historic buildings, Cabot said in a press announcement issued this spring.

In addition, "Sto Corp. combined Cabot's aerogel particles with its binder and composite technology to make a super slim composite board, called StoTherm In Aevero," ICIS reported.

The company’s partnership with Tnemec uses Enova aerogel in a new insulative coating designed for pipes, steel and tanks.

Other ICIS Award Winners

Other winners of the ICIS Innovation Awards included Solvay Aroma Performance, Virent, Archroma (the former textile, paper and emulsions business of Clariant), and Renmatix.

ICIS global editor John Baker said the Innovation Awards "continue to highlight the best the chemical industry has to offer in the way of innovation and providing solutions to society's needs."

He added, "This year saw a diverse range of innovations entered, from leading-edge biomaterials and processes to developments in more mature sectors—indicating that innovation is still relevant to all businesses whatever their stage of market development."

The awards will be presented at a lunch Dec. 7 in London, ICIS said.


Tagged categories: Additives; Awards and honors; Cabot Corp.; Coating chemistry; Coatings Technology; Energy efficiency; Formulating; Insulating coatings

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