On the bus back from the Cleantech conference in Stockholm last night I spoke to an investor working with AirGlass, a type of glass that is 97% air. This is actually a sort of aerogel and weighs a mere 50Kg/m³. It would be used as a form of transparent wall and has amazing insulating potential. The product has been floating around (ha!) for a while but this is the first time I’ve seen it up close.
The stuff is still too brittle to work with alone – the investor was looking into creating a thin plastic cover to protect it – but the glass could replace standard glass as it’s transparent and can hold a colored dye.
At around 750°C (1380°F), it starts to shrink and slowly collapses to a piece of ordinary quartz.
Airglass can be cut with a band saw and holes can be drilled with a metal drill. It should be noted that Airglass is non-flammable and non-toxic.
Apparently before you mold it the glass can flow like water so you could make it into any shape. It was amazingly light and it felt solid although it had some sharp edges.