There are various means and technologies available to help save energy and reduce consumption in buildings: double-glazed windows, wood, electric meters, thermal insulation that prevents heat from evaporating and avoids too much heating being used. A home's insulation can help to reduce energy consumption for heating or air-conditioning four- or five-fold as compared to uninsulated houses.
The result of seven years of research at BASF, Slentite® is a very high performance polyurethane-based organic aerogel that is able to meet the challenges of sustainable construction. It comes in the shape of panels and traps air in its nanoscopic pores, 300 times thinner than a human hair, which enables homes to retain heat during the winter and cool air during the summer. The material's very low thermal conductivity enables it to replace traditional insulation, such as mineral wool or polystyrene, at a rate of 25 to 50 %, while providing hygrothermal regulation for the indoor environment. In addition to these qualities, it can be easily cut without generating dust and has exceptional resistance to compression, Slentite appears to be an ideal material for internal insulation in buildings, both new and renovated. BASF also has views on using it in external insulation under a coating and, in another field entirely, in refrigeration equipment. The applications for Slentite® are currently in development and it will be some time before they see the light of day.
As a reminder, an aerogel is a gel-like material in which the liquid component is replaced by gas. It is a very low-density solid with several remarkable properties, such as its capacity of providing thermal insulation.