Thermablok® Aerogel Insulation
Utilizing aerogel insulation technology developed by NASA - the highest insulating material in existence - Thermablok® is a highly efficient, aerogel-based insulating material that breaks conductive "thermal bridging" and can increase the overall wall R-value of a wall by more than 40 percent, regardless of cavity insulation.
Aerogel, also referred to as "frozen smoke," has been difficult to adapt to most uses because of its fragility. The Thermablok material overcomes this by using a unique fiber to suspend a proprietary formula of aerogel so that it can be bent or compressed while still retaining its amazing insulation properties.
Now available to the building industry, just one, 3/8-inch x 1½-inch (6.25mm x 38mm) strip of Thermablok added to each stud edge before hanging drywall or sheating is all that is needed to tackle thermal bridging problems and contribute towards maximum R value.
Thanks to its hydrophobic properties, Thermablok will not age, mold, or mildew. Thermablok uses an amorphorus silica (distantly different from crystaline silica) aerogel insulating material which is environmentally safe and recyclable.
Thermablok aerogel insulation is made up of a composite material consisting of aerogel embedded within a fiberglass type matrix.
Available in plastic incased strips (optional self-adhesive)that attach easily to the stud, Thermablok maintains its R-value over time, under a wide range of conditions. For this reason, Thermablok has made aerogel insulation available for home and commercial use.
What is aerogel?
Aerogel is an advanced material which holds 15 entries in the "Guinness Book of Records" for its unique properties, including lowest density solid and best insulator. Aerogel is a silica-based substance consisting of a loose dendritic network of the atom silicon. Aerogel is manufactured by removing the liquid from a silica alcogel and replacing it with nothing but air, which makes up 99.8 percent of the final product. Some aerogels have a density as low as .001 grams per cubic centimeter (.0005 ounces per cubic inch). Aerogels are good thermal insulators because they almost nullify three methods of heat transfer (convection, conduction and radiation).
The video below, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, demonstrates aerogel and its properties.
Thermablok was developed by the international acoustical research company Acoustiblok, Inc., to meet a real need to apply aerogel technology in residential and commercial insulating material. Thermablok works by addressing the characteristics of thermal transmission, which is at its minimum when conducting through air or a vacuum, and increases through solid objects. Therefore, in a regular wood or metal stud wall, the areas that continue to conduct thermally are the studs, which mechanically connect one side of a wall to the other. Thermablok strips block thermal bridging at its base – the stud.
On an infrared thermal test of a standard metal stud/gypsum board wall, the studs show up very clearly as the points of thermal conductivity. Thermal bridging is the prime cause of energy loss in a building.
As the Thermablok aerogel material is 95 percent air, and is situated between the stud and the drywall, it breaks the mechanical connection (thermal bridging) exceptionally well.
These findings are substantiated by the U.S Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and J. M. Laboratory, which compared two identical (metal stud/gypsum board) walls: one wall with one strip of Thermablok on each 2 x 4 stud edge (one side only), and the second wall without aerogel strips. A ¼-inch thickness of aerogel increased the insulation factor by 30 percent, and a 3/8-inch thickness increased the insulation factor by 42 percent.
NASA named Thermablok aerogel insulating material to its Top 50 list of new products in "Spinoff," NASA's annual premier publication featuring companies that have successfully adapted NASA technologies to everyday products and made them available to everyday consumers.