Is it a solid? Or something more?

Sep 20, 2012

Sarah Nicols

One of my students came in to my room after school yesterday, and gave me a small cube of Aerogel, one of the world's lightest solid materials. It is amazing stuff! Even though it is called "gel", it is actually a dry, translucent solid...feels sort of like styrofoam.

The way they make this is by replacing the liquid in gels with gas. It is an ultra-porous, ultra-lightweight solid that can support up to 1000 times its mass, and is also a great insulator! Check out the video below, where a piece of Aerogel protects a Hershey's kiss from a blowtorch:

You can buy a little bit of this amazing material from Amazon and play around with it:

What are some other amazing solids you have heard of? What are some properties of solid matter than you know of?


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