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Silica Aerogel

Silica aerogel is an oxide-based engineering ceramic. It has the lowest density among oxide-based engineering ceramics. In addition, it has the lowest tensile strength and the lowest thermal conductivity. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare silica aerogel to other oxide-based engineering ceramics (top) and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

0.0050 GPa 0.00073 x 106 psi

Poisson's Ratio


Shear Modulus

0.0030 GPa 0.00044 x 106 psi

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

0.016 MPa 0.0023 x 103 psi

Other Material Properties


0.1 g/cm3 6.2 lb/ft3

Thermal Conductivity

0.016 W/m-K 0.0093 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

2.0 µm/m-K

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

0.028 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

57 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

0.044 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

1.4 points

Thermal Shock Resistance

110 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

Aerogels Handbook, Michel A. Aegerter et al. (editors), 2011

Springer Handbook of Condensed Matter and Materials Data, W. Martienssen and H. Warlimont (editors), 2005