Super-Insulation for Ductwork
Small Business Information
188 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough, MA, 01752
Abstract65264 Many existing and virtually all new construction installations of commercial and residential HVAC duct systems are outside of the conditional building space, and are often outside the building envelope altogether (e.g. rooftop), wasting an enormous amount of energy. Improving insulation values from conventional R-4 per inch to R-10 to R-12 per inch performance can eliminate more than 50% of the thermal losses. However, past approaches have focused on sealing leaks and improving mechanicals (fan/blower and damper design) because very high R-value insulation (R-12/inch) has not been commercially available. In Phase I, flexible aerogel blanket super-insulation materials (R-12/inch) were developed that exhibit R values of 10-14 per inch based on infrared radiation (IR) opacified silica aerogel matrices. The most promising candidate insulation materials from a cost/thermal performance viewpoint were advanced from laboratory scale (6Â¿x 6Â¿ x 1/4Â¿ coupons) to small pilot scale (90 square feet per 6 hours) utilizing formulation chemistry, mechanical gel handling methods, gel strengthening and aging methods, low-cost water repellency treatments, and rapid supercritical fluid extraction techniques. Thermal imaging of a prototype duct-wrap insulation product showed excellent performance for both conventional cooling and heating temperature environments. In Phase II, low-cost aerogel formulations based on sodium silicate will be improved for density, thermal performance, and mechanical properties and scaled-up to large pilot scale (1000 square feet per 6 hours). Encapsulation methods and strategies for integrating the new aerogel blanket super-insulation into existing duct manufacturing will be tested. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Aerogel materials are the best solid thermal insulators known. The flexible blanket composites should have application to aerospace, technical, clothing, appliance and commercial/residential HVAC insulation markets.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.