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March 28th, 2008
Scientists in the US have mimicked the structure of bird nests to overcome the extreme fragility of highly insulating aerogels.
Already used to protect NASA's Mars rovers' delicate electronics from the cold, aerogels are low-density materials prized for their insulating properties. However, the porous materials, made of interwoven nanoparticle strands, are also extremely fragile, limiting their use. Now Nicholas Leventis and colleagues at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, have made a stronger material by boosting the interlocking between strands.
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