Aerogel and beyond.

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Pez

Aerogel and beyond.
« on: 4 Aug 2022, 11:59 pm »
ACers! It's been a while. If you haven't figured it out already, if I'm quiet, it's not that I'm taking it easy, it's because I'm working my ass off on something new. 8) Today marks the first of MANY announcements on new tech and toys. I wanted to start by revisiting one of my favorite topics; dielectrics.


The quest to create the most ideal dielectric is hardly a new endeavor. In fact companies spend many hundreds of hours hand weaving Teflon thread dielectric matrices to reduce the amount of dielectric material touching their signal wire. Other materials are often used such as teflon and cotton. Until now all dielectrics had a multitude of compromises. In this article I hope to inform the reader about some of the technicals of why Hapa Audio’s patented Aerogel dielectric stands apart in the field of options.

Don’t be dense:
Density, one of the least understood properties of a dielectric. A dense dielectric, such as Teflon, in direct contact with a wire leads to over-damp. Over-damp strips away nuance and detail from the signal wire. On the other end of the scale, air dielectrics allow for a wire to excessively ringing which causes aberrations in the time domain of a signal wire leading to a fuzzy amorphous and overly strident presentation.

One of the more recent trends in dielectrics is using cotton.  Although slightly lower in density at 1.5 grams per cm³, cotton reduces density at the expense of introducing a major problem. Cotton is permeable to the environment and oxidation is inevitable over time as the internal wire is exposed to the natural humidity in any room, leading to oxidation. The result is loss of detail and a “darkening” of the soundstage over time.

With a density of 2.2 g/cm³, Teflon is very dense and tends to strip nuance and detail due to overdamping. Symptoms include boomy bass, muddled midrange, and treble detail that is hazy and bright. Despite being less permeable to the environment, it is still susceptible to oxidation as there is always a gap between wire and Teflon dielectric that exposes the wire to in room humidity.

Aerogel has the entire field beat on density and has the added benefit of being 100% hydrophobic meaning any wire clad in Aerogel is immunized against oxidation ensuring greater longevity and less loss of sound quality over time due to oxidation.

Density comparison:
teflon is 2.2 g/cm³  and cotton has a density 1.5 g/cm³. So how much better can Aerogel possibly be? At a mere 6% the density of cotton and a mere 4.5% compared to Teflon, Aerogel comes in at a mind blowing 0.1 g/cm³ density, making it several orders of magnitude lighter than cotton or teflon. In fact Aerogel is the least dense solid material known to mankind and no other dielectric can even come close.

Where air dielectric has virtually no damping properties allowing signal cables to ‘ring’ which kills nuance and spatial information, Aerogel is as close as you can get to ideal damping properties, allowing the wire to move freely without ringing allowing the signal to propagate virtually unaltered by these types of aberrations.

When light as a feather, is too heavy:
If you’ve never handled Aerogel, it’s almost impossible to imagine just how light this material is. In order to demonstrate just how incredibly light Aerogel is, I enlisted the help of the insanely talented professional photographer Tegan K. If a picture is worth a thousand words, for aerogel, this one tells the entire story.

0.1 g/cm³
At 2.5” in diameter and 0.5” in height this is the largest commercially available puck of Aerogel I could find, yet it sits atop the tip of a delicate Mallard feather. No strings attached, no post process image manipulation and absolutely no camera trickery was used in making of this photo. (Credit: Hapa Audio, Tegan K Studios)

Checkmate:
With ideal vibrational damping properties, the lowest density of any solid known to man, exceptional dielectric permittivity and preservative properties disallowing oxidation, Hapa Audio’s patented Aerogel dielectric technology represents an unbridgeable reference for high end audio dielectrics. Teflon, cotton, and air dielectrics all wilt by comparison.

In my next write up, I will discuss what this incredible material houses, Hapa Audio’s proprietary highly polished UPOCC. Because having the worlds best dielectric doesn’t matter if you’re using off the shelf UPOCC wire.

stay tuned!!!
« Last Edit: 4 Sep 2022, 05:09 pm by Pez »

Tone Depth

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #1 on: 5 Aug 2022, 03:43 am »
To retain credibility, I suggest you edit dampening to damping.

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #2 on: 5 Aug 2022, 04:14 am »
 :lol:

This is not the first time I’ve done that.  :P Thanks!  :thumb:

EkW

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #3 on: 5 Aug 2022, 02:46 pm »
I learned a lot about aerogels at aerogel.org. Much of the info is several years old but it is still interesting. I had always thought of aerogels as being brittle so was surprised to read about using them in cables. My impression is that cost may be the biggest impediment to wider application.

cd45123

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #4 on: 5 Aug 2022, 03:12 pm »
I’m glad to see there’ll be more Aero products. I hope we’re getting closer to a Hapa Audio loom soon :)

S Clark

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #5 on: 5 Aug 2022, 04:50 pm »
20 years ago or so, Audax used it for their cone material in their woofers.  I've got a pair for a project that never got built (like so many others, sigh)

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #6 on: 5 Aug 2022, 09:54 pm »
I learned a lot about aerogels at aerogel.org. Much of the info is several years old but it is still interesting. I had always thought of aerogels as being brittle so was surprised to read about using them in cables. My impression is that cost may be the biggest impediment to wider application.

EkW,
You said it. Aerogel is the very definition of brittle. The material itself is so delicate that unless you know exact how to handle it, you are guaranteed to destroy it. In the feather photo to handle a puck that big took an immense amount of concentration to add as little grasping pressure as possible and even still, you can see in the photo spots where I managed to damage the edges despite my best efforts.

My wife found a small case holding a puck worth about $75. She opened it up not knowing what it was and when she took the aerogel out of the case it instantly shattered into a hundred little pieces. I found it that way and she confessed it was her.  :duh: :nono: :lol:  Lesson learned!

It is very time consuming and difficult, but I have going on 3 years of development on using this substance in the manufacture of cables. The sound quality makes it all worth while and those who own the cable can rest assured, it's every bit as robust as any cable is. No need to concern yourself with handling the cables with excess care. :thumb:

I’m glad to see there’ll be more Aero products. I hope we’re getting closer to a Hapa Audio loom soon :)

I'm looking forward to showing everyone what I've managed to come up with as well!  :thumb:

20 years ago or so, Audax used it for their cone material in their woofers.  I've got a pair for a project that never got built (like so many others, sigh)

More than likely the product was not aerogel. One of the bad habits in marketing is to name a product after a valued material which often leads the consumer to the false impression that the product is made with that material. Case in point, I once saw a winter coat that was called 'titanium'. Needless to say, there was absolutely no titanium used in the making of the coat, it was just the 'in' material that was attention grabbing to the consumer.

In the case of the driver, it is absolutely impossible to use aerogel in any process requiring a rigid structure, let alone one that is under as much stress as a speaker driver. Aerogel under that sort of stress wouldn't even survive the first sine wave passed through it.

S Clark

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #7 on: 5 Aug 2022, 10:40 pm »

More than likely the product was not aerogel. One of the bad habits in marketing is to name a product after a valued material which often leads the consumer to the false impression that the product is made with that material. Case in point, I once saw a winter coat that was called 'titanium'. Needless to say, there was absolutely no titanium used in the making of the coat, it was just the 'in' material that was attention grabbing to the consumer.

In the case of the driver, it is absolutely impossible to use aerogel in any process requiring a rigid structure, let alone one that is under as much stress as a speaker driver. Aerogel under that sort of stress wouldn't even survive the first sine wave passed through it.
Audax has been around for a good while, and now part of Harmon Industries.  They still make a few of these drivers, and still call them "aerogel".  I've not seen anything that indicated a reason to believe they have been falsely marketing for 20 years.  Madisound still carries an Audax aerogel mid woofer....  https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/audax-woofers-6-7/audax-hm170z18-6.5-woofer-aerogel-cone/
I'd bet they'd answer any question you might send them. 

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #8 on: 5 Aug 2022, 10:45 pm »
Ah, as I suspected. Marketing. :wink: From the description in the link:
Quote
Acrylic polymer gel with a blend of Kevlar and carbon fibers embedded into it.
ie, no aerogel. Not entirely sure what Acrylic polymer gel is, but definitely not what Aerogel is made of.

I could see aerogel used in other ways for a loudspeaker, but for a driver it's the least likely.

S Clark

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #9 on: 6 Aug 2022, 12:52 am »
It looks like variations of aerogel have been around for quite a while.  If one is embedded with fibers, it looks to me like it's still an aerogel... which is group of substances and not a trademark item. 
From Wikipedia:
Aerogels are a class of synthetic porous ultralight material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component for the gel has been replaced with a gas, without significant collapse of the gel structure.[4] The result is a solid with extremely low density[5] and extremely low thermal conductivity. Aerogels can be made from a variety of chemical compounds.[6] Silica aerogels feel like fragile expanded polystyrene to the touch, while some polymer-based aerogels feel like rigid foams.

The first documented example of an aerogel was created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931,[7] as a result of a bet[8] with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid in "jellies" with gas without causing shrinkage

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #10 on: 6 Aug 2022, 05:58 am »
Indeed the term “Aerogel” is in reference to a process more than a specific molecular makeup. I’ve even seen an Egg being turned into aerogel.  :o

For all Hapa Audio cables when I say “Aerogel” I am specifically referring to the Silicone dioxide variant. This is the lowest density of commercially available aerogel and to my knowledge there is not a more ideal variation especially in this application. With its molecular form being completely non-polar in shape, silica dioxide Aerogle is supremely well suited as a dielectric.

newzooreview

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #11 on: 6 Aug 2022, 07:10 pm »
How fragile is the cable with silicon dioxide aerogel as the dialectric?

I understand it must be somewhat flexible to be useable in an interconnect, but can it bend as much as typical cable as long as it has a reasonable radius of curvature (not crimped/folder)?

What about resistance to compression?

For example, if the cable drags along the back edge of the shelf when I pull a connected device forward, will the aerogel around the cable be susceptible to brittle compression, like putting a fingernail mark in dry foam used in flower arrangements?

I am very intrigued by the new design and look forward to further announcements.

S Clark

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #12 on: 6 Aug 2022, 11:17 pm »
...
the post preceding this has been removed, hence the edit. 
« Last Edit: 7 Aug 2022, 08:44 pm by S Clark »

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #13 on: 7 Aug 2022, 02:47 am »
How fragile is the cable with silicon dioxide aerogel as the dialectric?

I understand it must be somewhat flexible to be useable in an interconnect, but can it bend as much as typical cable as long as it has a reasonable radius of curvature (not crimped/folder)?

What about resistance to compression?

For example, if the cable drags along the back edge of the shelf when I pull a connected device forward, will the aerogel around the cable be susceptible to brittle compression, like putting a fingernail mark in dry foam used in flower arrangements?

I am very intrigued by the new design and look forward to further announcements.

The cable is every bit as robust as any cable. There is no concern at all of damaging the aerogel dielectric. It is very flexible for a digital cable and can be snaked around with ease. I mitigated a lot of the usability issues that you’re mentioning, to the point where damage is not an issue under normal use. It can be utilized the same as any cable on the market. Just don’t try to jump rope with it.  :wink:

Pez

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #14 on: 7 Aug 2022, 02:49 am »
Teflon is very dense and tends to strip nuance and detail due to overdamping.

Goryu, this claim is on the subjective sound quality assessment. If you are interested in finding out more on that I will be doing a tour so you can hear it in your setup if you’re interested.  :thumb: :dance:

nlitworld

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #15 on: 7 Aug 2022, 03:21 am »
If you are interested in finding out more on that I will be doing a tour so you can hear it in your setup if you’re interested.  :thumb: :dance:

Why do I have the feeling my wallet could be light as a feather after that tour?  :lol:  Looking forward to hearing what other goodies you're about to release.   :popcorn:

Letitroll98

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #16 on: 7 Aug 2022, 09:52 am »
The question is how do you make a rigid solid into a flexible solid.  The examples are all around you, some of you are using one of those in your sound system today.  Pez gave you the clues in his post and the answer was listed on this thread.  We have a lot of smart people here, I'm sure many have figured it out.

S Clark

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #17 on: 7 Aug 2022, 01:16 pm »
...
The post that preceded this has been removed, hence the edit.
« Last Edit: 7 Aug 2022, 08:43 pm by S Clark »

nlitworld

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Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #18 on: 7 Aug 2022, 01:48 pm »
Oscilloscope measurements are nice to make sure a product is not faulty, but they ignore the most sensitive, highly calibrated tool we possess and that is the human ears and brain. Even still, let's not turn this into a spiteful pissing match between measurement vs listening debate. I guarantee nothing good will come of it. Having tested some of Jason's other products, I guarantee they contain 0% snake oil. If you still don't believe it, then sign up for whatever his next product tour is and put your bias to the test. Perhaps you may change your theory, or perhaps not...

newzooreview

Re: Aerogel and beyond.
« Reply #19 on: 7 Aug 2022, 01:59 pm »
The cable is every bit as robust as any cable. There is no concern at all of damaging the aerogel dielectric.

Excellent. Thank you.