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New Zealand company AgResearch invents mithral.

…demonstration of heat- and stab-resistant fabric that has been developed by AgResearch’s Textiles Group. The fabric is made from a lightweight wool fibre backed with a high-strength gel-spun liquid crystal polymer.

“This fabric can be used as protection in terrorism situations, yet it’s lightweight and gives comfort not provided from the heavy flack jackets normally used in such situations,” says AgResearch Senior Scientist Ian McFarlane.

This wool/ polymer (the polymer is similar to kevlar I believe) blend is heat/ fire resistant. It is a fabric, not a rigid material, yet it is unable to be stabbed thru by a knife. The only negative thing that can be said about it is its name, Natural Easy Care (NEC) fabric.

Aerogel has a multitude of uses. It is light, strong, insulating, made from abundant materials and now is even lighter and more flexible.

Aerogel, one of the world’s lightest solids, can withstand a direct blast of
1kg of dynamite and protect against heat from a blowtorch at more than
1,300C….[It] is made by extracting water from a silica gel, then replacing it with gas such as carbon dioxide.

Potential uses include insulation, sports equipment, limiting explosion damage, and removing pollution.

While the most common form is made of silica it can be made from other materials such as carbon or include other materials such as platinum. Platinum aerogel has potential as platinum is a catalyst for many reactions including hydrogen and oxygen forming water. It can therefore be used in hydrogen fuel cells but apparently it is hoped it can be used in the production of hydrogen from water.

Categories: science, technology
  1. DuckMan
    2007 August 22 at 17:24

    >Ha ha. I get it. Aerogel = Ag = silver. Mithral silver resists penetration; so does NEC. Good one.

  2. bethyada
    2007 August 22 at 21:38

    >duckman, they are 2 different inventions.Aerogel was invented in the 1930s or 1940s but has become more useful recently.The fabric has nothing to do with aerogel, it is a wool/ polymer blend. I thought mithral because of it’s properties, though it is even more fabric like than Tolkien’s famed chain metal.

  3. The Aardvark
    2007 August 22 at 23:36

    >Hmmm…could a platinum / iridium aerogel sponge be the beginning of Asimov’s positronic brain?

  4. Tonia
    2007 August 23 at 03:05

    >Aerogel is the world’s most advanced insulating material. Our company, PolarWrap, uses aerogel in our line of Toasty Feet insoles.You can read more about aerogel and its use in our products at http://www.toastyfeet.com.

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