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October 4th, 2005
Nano World: Super-insulating frozen smoke
Charles Q. Choi: The world's best thermal insulators, aerogels made of necklaces of nanometer-sized beads, are starting to find their way into flexible, lightweight sheets in everything from attack helicopters to snowboarding jackets.
Aerogels are the world's lightest solids. They often are made of as much as 99.8 percent air -- earning the materials the nickname of "frozen smoke" -- but can in theory hold up to 500 to 4,000 times their own weight.
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