Take a silica gel filled with water and replace the water with carbon dioxide. What do you get? A solid that is lighter than air. It is a super-absorbant that can dry materials, absorb pollutants, provide insulation and can be used for armor. It is called “Frozen Smoke” and it may be a revolutionary new material. It has practical uses for home construction, space travel, body armor, and more.

Dafydd ab Hugh takes a closer look at silica aerogels.