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Old 09-24-2012, 08:35 PM   #1
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Aerogel Insulation... Any experience with it?

I know there is another thread with Aerogel insulation, but no one has actually claimed they have used it. I am considering using it. I spoke extensively with Thermablock which is one of two US companies that make Aerogel insulation. I was just curious if anyone has tried it with any success or failure.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
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Semi-monocoque Airstream construction or not -- I'd suspect there always will be racking movements through an Airstream shell. What would the cost of aerogell installation be? Is it cost effective?

The bigger issue -- even with low level fiberglass insulation, we've all seen the inner shell condensation issues where bows and ribs run between the inner & outer skins. There is some serious conduction transfer of exterior temperatures to the interior. Just try to air condition in the open southwestern sun.

Jackson Center has been installing a thin synthetic thermal break between the bows and interior skins for quite some time. My '74 Argosy had foam tape between the inner skin and bows. The inner skins must be structurally involved to retain what rigidity is expected. I suspect a more rigid, structural thermal break has not yet evolved to address the bigger thermal loss that bows/ribs present. That probably should be addressed before aerogels would produce real world differences.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:10 AM   #3
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A quick estimate shows 12~ square feet of aluminum-to-aluminum contact from the ribs/bows onto the interior liner panels on my 27', then start adding it the cross-bracing & floor c-channel, window and vent opening frames and the number jumps to 40~plus square feet. With the heat-transfer ability of aluminum there is the place to retrofit in a solution.

Aluminum has thermal conductivity of 220-255 mW/m-K so ANYTHING placed to reduce the flow there is money well spent. It's a matter of porportions, it does not have to be the extremely low 0.035 - 0.16 conductivity of common insulations or the 0.003 (!) performance of aerogels. CanoeStream phrased it correctly, rigid and structural properties researched carefully to not allow the binding points of rivets to loosen immediately and progressively worsen as the material creeps.

With aerogels it seems every wants to sell value-added products, housing or commercial structural panels or drywall with the gel added, etc. - for custom rehab work unless you are buying a 5-gallon bucket of loose 3-5mm granules it's best supplied in 5 or 10mm thickness rolls resembling felt.

There are 58" wide rolls available with or without a foil backing that could be a category killer for sure - four 10mm layers would fill the cavity 100% on older trailers, and using it to insulate only the ceiling and the top curve of the shell would catch both sun loading and the majority of heat loss for cold-weather use.

I've run the numbers a couple of times for my own projects - IF I was neck-deep in a 2002/5 or newer trailer, or a true heirloom vintage unit that held a better core value, I would be trying to line up some aerogels...
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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I wonder if you could just glue it to the inside of the walls like mouse fur.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:11 AM   #5
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Aerogel Insulation... Any experience with it?

I currently have my inner skins off and am considering using an aerogel blanket in conjunction with a thermal break on each of the ribs and cross members. It's expensive, but if I have everything that far apart why not do it the best way possible.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:57 AM   #6
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Where are you folks sourcing your aerogel?

I was recently discussing this with some colleagues. We found a website that sold the aerogel blankets and after running rough numbers it was waaaayyyy too expensive to be used as an insulation source in a travel trailer. What are you finding?
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:11 AM   #7
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Related ...
There was a thread about the absence of inner skin and what inner skin contributes to the strength of construction. Given that many military aircraft have no inner skin, and also some ASers have gone inner skinless, maybe inner skin is for looks and attaching partition walls to.
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:12 PM   #8
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I was looking at buyaerogel.com. It is def too expensive to use it for the entire trailer. But in key locations like at the very top with the most sun exposure it could provide cost effective benefit (depending on your definition of cost effective).
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:13 PM   #9
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I don't know about going inner skinless. My understanding is that on an AS the inner skin provides a lot of the rigidity to the trailer. Of course I'm not an engineer and haven't not tried to run numbers on it.
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Old 01-08-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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Aerogel Insulation... Any experience with it?

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ry-141728.html
Who knows for sure ...
But thermal break is related.
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Old 01-08-2016, 05:27 PM   #11
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I don't know how much of a design factor the inner skins where when AS designed our trailers. I couldn't imagine going inner skinless just for aesthetics.
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