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1. (WO2007001354) HIGH PERFORMANCE VACUUM-SEALED INSULATIONS
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WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A structure comprising a flexible aerogel composite fully enclosed by an envelope and sealed at a reduced pressure, wherein said composite is not a silica/PMA matrix.

2. The structure of claim 1 wherein said aerogel composite comprises at least one metal oxide matrix and a fibrous material incorporated therein,
optionally wherein said composite, and optionally said structure, is capable of bending to at least 90° with a bending radius of less than 1A inch.

3. The structure of claim 1 or 2 wherein the aerogel composite comprises at least one organic polymer; or
wherein an amount of at least one opacifying compound is incorporated in the aerogel composite.

4. The structure of claim 3 wherein said organic polymer is chitosan, polymethyl methacrylate, a member of the acrylate family of oligomers,
trialkoxysilylterminated polydimethylsiloxane, polyoxyalkylene, polyurethane,
polybutadiene, a member of the polyether family of materials or combinations thereof.

5. The structure of claim 2 wherein the metal oxide is silica, titania, zirconia, alumina, liafhia, yttria, ceria or combinations thereof; or
wherein the aerogel composite comprises nitrides, carbides or any combination thereof; or
wherein the fibrous material is in the form of a fibrous batting, a lofty batting, microfibers or a felt; or
wherein the fibrous material is based on polyester, silica, carbon or a combination thereof; or
wherein said fibrous material is coated with a polymeric or metallic compound.

6. The structure of claim 3 wherein the opacifying compound is B4C, Diatomite, Manganese ferrite, MnO, NiO, SnO, Ag2O, Bi2O3, TiC, WC, carbon black, titanium oxide, iron titanium oxide, zirconium silicate, zirconium oxide, iron (I) oxide, iron (III) oxide, manganese dioxide, iron titanium oxide (ilmenite), chromium oxide, silicon carbide, or mixtures thereof.

7. The structure of claim 1 or 2 wherein at least two plies of an aerogel composite are fully enclosed within the envelope; or
further comprising at least one layer of fibrous material, within the envelope; or
wherein the aerogel composite has a density between about 0.01g/cc to about 0.40g/cc or between about 0.07g/cc to about 0.30g/cc; or
wherein the thermal conductivity of the aerogel composite within said structure at pressures between about 760 torr and about 0.2 ton- and between temperatures of about 2O0C and about -1220C is between about 2.2 raWM and about 13.2 mW/mK; or wherein the thermal conductivity of the aerogel composite within said structure at pressures between about 760 ton- and about 0.2 torr and between temperatures of about 380C and about -13O0C is between about 2.85 mW/mK and about 12.7 mW/mK; or wherein the flexural strength of the aerogel composite is at least about lOOpsi at rupture; or
wherein the envelope is a polymeric, optionally metallized, film; or
wherein the envelope is a mylar film.

8. The structure of claim 1 or 2 wherein said structure is in the shape of a box; or
wherein said structure is partially or completely bent around a pipeline; or
wherein the structure is in the shape of a panel.

9. A method of preparing a structure comprising fully enclosing a flexible aerogel composite an envelope and sealing said aerogel composite at a reduced pressure, wherein said composite is not a silica/PMA matrix.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein said aerogel composite comprises at least one metal oxide matrix and a fibrous material incorporated therein,
optionally wherein said structure can bend to at least 90° with a bending radius of less than '/_ inch.

11. The method of claim 9 or 10 wherein the aerogel composite comprises at least one organic polymer; or wherein an amount of at least one opacifying compound is incorporated in the aerogel composite.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein said organic polymer is chitosan, polymethyl methacrylate, a member of the acrylate family of oligomers,
trialkoxysilylterminated polydimethylsiloxane, polyoxyalkylene, polyurethane,
polybutadiene, a member of the polyether family of materials or combinations thereof.

13. The method of claim 10 wherein the metal oxide is silica, titania, zirconia, alumina, hafnia, yttria, ceria or combinations thereof; or
wherein the aerogel composite comprises nitrides, carbides or any combination thereof; or
wherein the fibrous material is in the form of a fibrous batting, a lofty batting, microfibers or a felt; or
wherein the fibrous material is based on polyester, silica, carbon or a combination thereof; or
wherein said fibrous material is coated with a polymeric or metallic compound.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein the opacifying compound is B4C, Diatomite, Manganese ferrite, MnO, NiO, SnO, Ag2O, Bi2O3, TiC, WC, carbon black, titanium oxide, iron titanium oxide, zirconium silicate, zirconium oxide, iron (I) oxide, iron (III) oxide, manganese dioxide, iron titanium oxide (ilmenite), chromium oxide, silicon carbide, or mixtures thereof.

15. The method of claim 9 or 10 wherein at least two plies of an aerogel composite are fully enclosed within the envelope; or
further comprising at least one layer of fibrous material, within the envelope; or
wherein the aerogel composite has a density between about 0.01 g/cc to about 0.40g/cc or between about 0.07g/cc to about 0.30g/cc; or
wherein the thermal conductivity of the aerogel composite within said structure at pressures between about 760 torr and about 0.2 torr and between temperatures of about 2O0C and about -1220C is between about 2.2 mW/mK and about 13.2 mW/mK; or wherein the thermal conductivity of the aerogel composite within said structure at pressures between about 760 ton- and about 0.2 torr and between temperatures of about 380C and about -13O0C is between about 2.85 mW/mK and about 12.7 mW/niK; or wherein the flexural strength of the aerogel composite is 102psi at rupture; or wherein the envelope is a polymeric, optionally metallized, film; or
wherein the envelope is a mylar film.

16. The method of claim 9 or 10 wherein said structure is in the shape of a box; or
wherein said structure is partially or completely bent around a pipeline; or
wherein the structure is in the shape of a panel.

17. A structure comprising a flexible aerogel composite and a reinforcing component,
wherein said composite, or said composite and component, is fully enclosed by an envelope and sealed at reduced pressure, and
wherein said composite is not a silica/PMA matrix.

18. The structure of claim 17 wherein said reinforcing component is stainless steel, elemental metals such as copper or iron, and other metallic, semi-metallic and alloyed materials; or
wherein said reinforcing component is in the form of a mesh, a screen, or chicken-wire; or
wherein said reinforcing component is integrated into said composite; or
wherein said reinforcing component is fully enclosed and sealed at reduced pressure.

19. A method of preparing a structure according to claim 17 or 18, said method comprising fully enclosing said composite and/or reinforcing component in an envelope and sealing at reduced pressure.

20. A pipe or pipeline, optionally for transporting liquefied natural gas, wrapped by the structure of any one of claims 1-8, 17, or 18.