Canadian Consulting Engineer

New type of building insulation 10 times more effective

The NRC Institute for Research in Construction in Ottawa has developed an apparatus to test and evaluate vacuum ins...

September 1, 2006   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The NRC Institute for Research in Construction in Ottawa has developed an apparatus to test and evaluate vacuum insulation panels. The panels are a new type of insulation for building envelopes that are receiving glowing reports from Europe.
Vacuum insulated panels are made with open porous core materials with the air evacuated. The material is enclosed in an impermeable gas barrier.
The researchers in the IRC’s Building Envelope and Structure program have developed a vacuum guarded hot plate to characterize the vacuum insulated panels.
According to the June 2006 issue of Construction Innovation, IRC’s newsletter, the panels are “the up and comers in the insulation field,” and have been successfully applied in Germany and Switzerland as reported in a study by the International Energy Agency.
The panels are said to be 10 times more thermally efficient than other insulation products with the same thickness. Their high insulation value is due to the absence or reduction of gaseous pressure inside the porous material. It’s expected the panels will be especially useful in buildings where space is at a premium, or where energy demand is high such as the Canadian North.
The IRC newsletter explains, however, that the vacuum insulation panels’ long-term seviceability depends greatly on the thermal conductivity of their core material as a function of internal pore pressure. The new testing equipment at the NRC-IRC in Ottawa can measure these characteristics. The equipment was developed with the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory.


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