For quite a few years now, we have been hearing about the revolutionary new aerogel insulation, first with the ultimately unsuccessful Champion Supersuit, then showing up in sleeping pads, water bottles, and other accessories a couple of years later. It now appears that aerogel might finally be ready for prime time with both Adidas and Peak Performance releasing Aerotherm aerogel insulation products this winter.
Aerogels are nanoporous solids created when silica is gelled in a solvent. When the solvent is removed, what remains is a sort of puffed up sand, with up to 99% porosity. This nanoporosity slows heat and moisture transport, providing record-low thermal conductivity.
Aerotherm aerogel offers up to 8 times better thermal performance than any other insulation material, weighs just slightly more than pure air, and doesn’t require loft to maintain its insulation capabilities unlike down or other synthetic fibers.
Since the insulation is not affected by compression, it makes Aerotherm a great choice for use in outdoor products. A roughly 2mm to 3mm thick layer of Aerotherm aerogel insulation is all that is required to deliver extremely high CLO values.
New for this winter season, the Adidas Blauvelt snowboarding boot ($350) uses Aerotherm aerogel as an insulating thermal barrier. The Peak Performance Heli Aero Jacket ($900) features a snap-in vest packed with Aerotherm for extra warmth on the mountain.