Aerogel Insulation Blanket should be stored in a dry environment, free from harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow.
When cutting or handling the blanket, a light-olored dust is sometimes noticeable. This dust is comprised of amorphous silica aerogel, which because of its light nature can float, leading to skin, respiratory and eye uneasiness when handling. The dust is nontoxic, but it may cause irritation.
A sensation of dryness to skin
Irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory tract
These effects are not unique to aerogels and are consistent with the handling of dusty materials. When inhaled in big amount, any dust or particulate will cause respiratory effects. Excessive exposure to any type of dust can cause skin or mucous membrane irritation by chemical or mechanical action or rigorous skin-leaning. Exposure guidelines are provided in the material safety data sheet (MSDS).
Exposure control/personal protective equipment
Workplace exposure to dust can be minimized with proper handling, ventilation and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Tips and guidelines for proper care include:
Keep workplaces clean. Do not allow opened insulation blanket to accumulate.
Keep blankets in their original packaging until ready for use.
Unpack the material in the work area to help minimize the dust exposure area.
Promptly pack trimmed material and scrap in disposal bags.
Promptly clean up any dust released during the handling of aerogel blankets. Dry vacuuming using a HEPA (high-fficiency particulate air) filter is the preferred method for cleaning of dust. Sweeping is not effective for picking up aerogel dust. Since aerogel dust is hydrophobic, water is not effective as a dust control agent.
Ensure adequate ventilation and comply with MSDS guidelines and/or local regulations such as OSHA. In most cases, an outdoor or open environment will provide sufficient ventilation. If dust is noticed to accumulate or if the blanket is used indoors, provide forced ventilation sufficient to reduce the dust to below the targeted threshold.
If dust cannot be reduced, or as an additional level of protection, use a paper mask or respirator capable of removing dust to within MSDS guidelines.
General –Silica aerogels may cause drying and irritation of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. After working with the blanket, the dust can be washed from the skin using soap and water.
Hands –Disposable nitrile, latex or other impermeable gloves offer protection from the dry feel from handling the blanket.
Eyes –Glasses with side shields are recommended if ventilation is adequate. If not, goggles are recommended. Do not rub eyes or touch face while working with the blanket.
Skin –Long sleeved, long-legged work clothes are advised. Disposable coveralls may be convenient and effective in minimizing skin exposure.
The blanket can be safely disposed as per local regulations.