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This invention encompasses a new methodology to enable aerogel production with a wide range of materials. Colloidal suspension is initially uniformly dispersed with surfactant in solvent using sonication at low concentration, and evaporated slowly at room temperature so that it transformed into a more concentrated suspension with a large compressional volume change. As a result, the more concentrated suspensions of nanocylinders become gels consisting of 3D network of nanocylinders. The gels form at transition concentration between semi-dilute and isotropic concentrated regime and the resultant gels are washed to remove surfactant and then dried using critical point drier or freezing drier into aerogels remaining the gel network intact.