Architects' Viewpoint

What is Aerogel?

Samuel Stephens Kistler, the inventor of aerogels, was born on March 26, 1900. Kistler’s invention of aerogel in 1931 is a notable event and has led many to declare March 26th as “Aerogel Day”. Over 80 years later, aerogels are still considered the lightest solids and are being used in a remarkable number of uses.

Safe mass-production of aerogel was not possible until the start of the 21st century. As with many products, it is this mass-production process and common use that has shown the real value of aerogels. For example, Lumira® aerogel, a silica aerogel, is now available for any building project. No longer is aerogel only for NASA and government research labs.

Through the Lumira® Consortium, AmeriLux International fills multiwall polycarbonate panels with Lumira® aerogel for use in skylights and high performance glazing. The unique characteristics of Lumira® aerogel, such as natural light diffusion, high thermal resistance, and light in weight, make it ideal for daylighting.

  • The natural light diffusion and glare elimination provided by Lumira® aerogel-filled panels helps light reach deep into the corners of a space.
  • The high thermal resistance means there is no longer a need to choose between daylight and high R-Values.

While we don’t get this day off, the achievements of Steven Kistler are impressive none the less. And even though the chemistry and significance of this discovery may be above most of us, we all experience its benefits. The combination of polycarbonate panels and Lumira® aerogel is proving these are still high performing products decades after their invention.

Lumira® aerogel is a high performance product that is now available in many ways that would make Steven Kistler proud. If you would like more information on daylighting with Lumira aerogel®, please click here to visit our website or email to