Aerogel, a light and porous substance developed by the researchers using egg whites, has a wide range of uses, including acoustic and thermal insulation, energy storage, and water purification. As vice dean of innovation at Princeton and the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Craig Arnold collaborates with his lab to develop new materials, such as aerogels, for use in engineering.

He had an idea one day while attending a faculty meeting.

Arnold recalled, “I was sitting there, looking at the bread in my sandwich.” And I reasoned that this particular structure is exactly what we need. He then instructed his lab team to prepare various bread recipes infused with carbon to see whether they could replicate the aerogel structure.