To keep our soldiers warm, in freezing temperatures at Siachen, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram (ISRO’s research arm) has manufactured the world’s lightest material called silica aerogel or ‘blue air’. This material can be used on earth as well as in outer space. The material has an outstanding thermal resistance that can be used in soldier uniforms to help them stay warm. The initiative comes following the death of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa and many other soldiers who lost their lives at Siachen recently, reported India Today.
In a report by India Times, the indigenous creation can also hopefully be used in rocket engines for insulation. For our soldiers, the material can be used for insoles, thermal jackets, and even have purposes for window glazing.
Points on Blue Air:
- Silica aerogel or Blue Air has a density of 1,000 gram per cubic metre, which makes it even lighter than air, which weighs 1,200 gram per cubic metre (at 20 degree Celsius, sea level)
- Silica aerogel had 15 Guiness World Records entries as the lowest-density solid and the best insulator till 2011
- Although, it was ousted by aerographite in 2012 and aeroghraphene in 2013, silica aerogel is the lightest material with a commercial value
- 97 percent of the volume of silica aerogel contains air, which makes it extremely light and gives it supreme thermal insulative qualities
- Silica aergel is also known as ‘frozen smoke’ for its lightness
- ISRO has manufactured the product to make uniforms for the Indian Army soldiers at Siachen and other places with extreme conditions
- This product can also be used in rocket engines for insulation.