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Old 07-30-2011, 01:07 AM   #1
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Understanding R-Value

I am hopeful to tap into the vast knowledge of the Airstream community. I ram across some insulation, but am ignorant how to determine R-value from thermal conductivity or thermal resistence. Anyone know how to understand the insulating properties of microporous cermaic insulation like this one

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Old 07-30-2011, 07:19 AM   #2
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I'm not sure the R-value of this material would be a useful way to measure it.

The R-value is the inverse of the thermal conductivity. So the 'imputed' R-value of this refractory material would be around 6.6/inch at 200F.

These materials are usually used in very high temperature applications and are way too expensive to use in an airstream, unless a large amount of it fell off a truck somewhere.

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Old 07-30-2011, 08:26 AM   #3
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That material has an organic binder that provides cohesion until its installed - note they say their packaging plastic shrink wrap is 'left on' and 'consumed', the binder is also meant to burn off. The product will not reach their advertised refractory properties until its been fired to a working temperature above 500F, the binder will discolor it until it goes to ash and only then will act as a good insulation - but then its lost 97% of its flexibility and will be easily chewed up by any abrasions from vibrations or even its own unsupported weight.

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Old 07-30-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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A bit more

Thank you for the replies.

Mardoane: You were right in your assumptions. This material is used in very high temp situations, including space shuttle insulation and it is ungodly expensive. However, since the space shuttle program has been mothballed, it will be appearing on the surplus market. (pennies on the dollar, perhaps?)
While even surplus I doubt it will be cheap, it would be cheaper than the Spaceloft stuff by Aspen Aerogel and I was hopeing it had close to the same properties.
Spaceloft has been discussed on the boards a couple of times but, in case it was missed, here is the link:

Wabbiteer: Good eye! I missed that very important feature of the board. Here is one from the product line, which might that downfall. It also lists the "blockers released at elevated temperatures".

There are many informative posts on the insulating of Airstreams and I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I have that typical American prejudice, if it was really, really, expensive it must have been really, really, good and like all prejudice it is usually flawed.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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I talked to one of the makers of microporous insulation today and confirmed what has been said. It is little, if any ,better than fiberglass insulation at room temp. Since it was part of the space program, I was wishful it shared properties with the aerogels, but this is not the case.
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