A flexible aerogel and process of fabrication. An aerogel solution is mixed with fibers in a mold and allowed to gel. The gel is then processed by supercritical extraction, or by air drying, to produce a flexible aerogel formed to the shape of the mold. The flexible aerogel has excellent thermal and acoustic properties, and can be utilized in numerous applications, such as for energy absorption, insulation (temperature and acoustic), to meet the contours of aircraft shapes, and where space is limited since an inch of aerogel is a 4-5 times better insulator than an inch of fiberglass. The flexible aerogel may be of an inorganic (silica) type or an organic (carbon) type, but containing fibers, such as glass or carbon fibers.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.