It is called ‘Frozen Smoke’ because it is so lightweight that it can be placed on the petal of a flower without bending the flower itself. But the aerogel developed by scientists at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram can save the lives of Indian soldiers posted at Siachen.
The gel paced on a tuft of flower.
Developed indigenously, the gel’s most significant use could be in keeping the soldier who patrol the bone-chilling heights of Siachen warm.
Merely applying the gel on the body can keep it warm, but the scientists want to go a step ahead and make an entire jacket out of it.
This gel could have saved the lives of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa and possibly the nine others who died in the Siachen avalanche in February this year.
Dr K Sivan, director of VSSC, said, “It is the world’s lightest synthetic material made by man. It is a highly guarded technology.”
The matrix of aerogel is made up of 99 per cent air. Scientists are working on making the material tough and resilient.