What Is Thermal Insulation? How It Works

Thermal Insulation is the reduction of thermal conductivity

Between different objects at thermal contact, usually in space of low radiant influence, or in space of high thermal contact. Thermal insulating materials include polyurethane foam, mineral wool, wadding, fiberglass, cotton and plastics. Thermal insulation can also be accomplished with the application of suitable man-made methods or procedures, and with certain material shapes and compositions. The materials that may be required for thermal insulation are: gypsum wall board, felt paper, mineral wool, felt pads, and expanded polystyrene (EPS). Thermal insulation is usually a key performance indicator (KPI), and there are four different levels of thermal insulation, based on the presence of vapor pressure, which can be either soluble or impervious to vapor pressure.

One of the most effective forms of thermal insulation is wool insulation. Wool composites are most often used in the construction of thermal barriers and heat transfer fabrics such as fire doors and thermal linings. There are three primary components to consider when selecting materials for thermal barrier or heat transfer fabric, and these are: density, tensile strength, and thermal conductivity. A higher density fiber and thinner wall thickness will reduce the amount of thermal bridging and provide a tighter seal.

Dense composites with polyester fibers have excellent thermal insulation properties

Thicker wall thicknesses can improve this aspect. When the composite wall has a specific vapor pressure point, which is a function of the density and thickness, it achieves a specific heat loss value. Some composites with higher vapor pressures have higher heat loss values than others. It should be noted that some composite wall systems have a lower heat loss through some means, but they are still excellent thermal barriers and heat barriers. When the moisture content is less than 40%, these systems have excellent vapor pressures.

Tear-resistant, fire resistant, and mold proof composites are excellent for thermal insulation material. These systems are designed specifically to resist puncture tests, and will stand up against moisture, mold, and fire. In addition, these systems typically have higher tensile strengths, which is beneficial in creating a stronger barrier.

Thermal resistance is important to clothing’s comfort

The clothing thermal comfort layer is where your choice in thermal insulation comes into play.  Most high quality clothing thermal insulation has excellent chemical and physical barriers. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The type of barrier that clothing has will determine what kind of thermal insulation it can provide.

For example, wool is a good barrier to thermal insulation. However, cotton, nylon, rayon, and other synthetic fibers would fare better. You should also avoid materials that have a tendency to attract moisture, such as silk. Even the skin of sheep and lambs can absorb moisture.

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