Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ann Anderson




Aerogel, energy consumption, windows


Silica aerogels are a translucent nano-porous material. Due to this nano-porous structure they have the lowest thermal conductivity among solid materials (as low as to 0.010 W/mK at room temperature). Because they are translucent and insulating, silica aerogels have potential applications in fenestration products. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates that almost one-third of all building heat loss occurs through windows and doors. A home owner spends money on heating in the winter and cooling in the summer due to the heat transfer to the environment through windows. Aerogel windows could minimize this heat transfer. Simulation results predict that heat transfer through a wall with a window is reduced by 19.4-32.4% when an aerogel window is used in place of a glass window and aerogel strips are placed on the exterior face of studs. The goal of this project is to build a prototype aerogel window and implement it in a model house. Methods for manufacturing large aerogel monoliths were studied and different molds and process parameters were varied to limit crack formation and produce sharp corners. A one-piece mold was used to produce high quality aerogels which were then laser-cut to shape the aerogels and fabricate a prototype window. The prototype window used two glass panes to sandwich four 3” x 3” aerogel panels into an ABS+ frame. The final product was placed in a model home and thermal imaging was used to show the positive effect that aerogel windows and aerogel stud insulation have on decreasing heat transfer.