This week’s video is actually a three-in-one aerogel feature. Aerogel is wispy, translucent, highly insulating material often described as “solid smoke.” It’s worth noting that aerogel is not a new material and may date back to the 1930s. Many new applications and lower-cost production processes, however, are opening up.

The first part of the video is a KQED/Discovery Channel short with the basics on aerogels. The second part focuses on some of the applications for the material, including flexible insulating blankets, from Aspen Aerogels. The final part of the video focuses on an offshoot of aerogel – SEAgel – that is an even lighter material and made from agar.