NANOFOAM for Optimal Thermal Insulation

ThermalConductivity“Nanofoams of this kind achieve twice the thermal insulation performance of today’s polyurethane foams, meaning that they could, for example, significantly reduce the energy consumption of refrigeration appliances and, in turn, make a major contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the walls of these appliances could be of thinner design, resulting in more storage space for refrigerated goods,” explained Dr. Stefan Lindner, a polyurethane rigid foam specialist at Bayer MaterialScience.

Commercial foams have the property of insulation because they trap the molecules of air reducing their mobility. If the pore size in a foam is reduced from the micro range to the nano range a Knudsen effect appears. In this case, the molecules of the gas can not see too many other molecules and the resulting effect is that they do not transmit the heat properly and they become less thermal conductive.

The thermal insulation performance of a polyurethane rigid foam depends chiefly on the size of the foam pores. The smaller the diameter, the lower the thermal conductivity and the better the insulating effect. Today’s polyurethane rigid foams typically have pore sizes of roughly 150 micrometers, which exceeds the pore size of nanofoams planned for the future by a factor of approximately 1,000.

Polystyrene closed cell foam

SEM picture of a polystyrene closed cell foam

SEM picture of a polystyrene closed cell foam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Melamine-formaldehyde open cell foam

SEM picture of a melamine-formaldehyde open cell foam

SEM picture of a melamine-formaldehyde open cell foam

 

Silica aerogel VIP

SEM picture of a silica aerogel

SEM picture of a silica aerogel

 

Polyurea xerogel (r = 204 g/L)

Polyurea xerogel (r = 204 g/L)

SEM picture of a polyurea xerogel

SEM picture of a polyurea xerogel

 

 Knudsen effect in a nanofoam due to the restricted movement of the gas


Knudsen effect in a nanofoam due to the restricted movement of the gas

Thermal conductivity contributions in a foam

Thermal conductivity contributions in a foam

ThermalConductivity

Thermal conductivity as function of the pressure for air (black), foam (red) and nanofoam (blue)

Source: www.MacroMolchem.com

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