Predominantly used in construction industry, thermal insulation is widely adopted across various industrial verticals such as oil & gas, food processing, automotive and energy. The demand for thermal insulation materials is expected to be sustained by crucial necessity of thermal insulation for maintaining an industry’s system performance. Increased manufacturing & construction output levels, and rising urbanisation are key macroeconomic factors propelling the growth of the global thermal insulation materials market. According to a study by Persistence Market Research (PMR), the global thermal insulation market is projected to grow at a steady 4.1% CAGR during 2016 to 2020, to account for revenues worth US$ 53,286 Mn through 2020.
Growing Emphasis on Green Energy to Boost Thermal Insulation Materials’ Sales
Soaring preferences for minimum utilisation of energy and increasing awareness on conservation of energy might accelerate the market growth in the near future. Introduction to regulations on efficient building construction across developing economies, and efficient building norms in the developed countries will further boost the market growth. Technological advancements in thermal insulation materials such as bio-based insulation materials and high-temperature insulation wool are expected to create lucrative opportunities in the upcoming years. In addition, growing emphasis on green energy is predicted to provide advantage to thermal insulation materials’ sales. Promising introduction of nano-insulation and vacuum insulation is expected to positively influence the market. However, high costs of thermal insulation materials and lack of awareness on their usage are factors estimated to restrain the market growth.
Cross-Linking of Aerogels for Improvement in Durability
There have been numerous innovations in the thermal insulation materials across the globe. Researchers from NASA GRC have developed a method to significantly improve the durability and mechanical properties of aerogels, without any adverse effects on their desirable properties. Aerogels are ultra-lightweight glass foams possessing extremely small pores and are outstanding thermal insulators. Traditional aerogels suffer poor environmental durability and fragility, which, researchers from NASA GRC look forth to overcome. The approach includes cross-linking individual skeletal nanoparticles of aerogels and conformally coating them with engineering polymers. By tailoring the surface chemistry of aerogels, GRC’s approach includes various polymer cross-linkers. Results have shown excellent improvement in the mechanical properties and durability of aerogels.
Fiber insulation and foam insulation materials, such as cellulose and fiber glass, each possess the property of blocking conductive heat transmitted through roofs and walls. However, foam insulation also blocks air infiltration through openings, cracks, and joints in the building structure. Such infiltration is responsible for 40% of the cooling or heating energy used at conditioned spaces. What one needs in this modern society, is thermal insulation along with an air sealing barrier, which foam insulation promises to offer and fiber insulation deems it difficult. This has led the adoption of foam insulation to boost higher than fiber insulation.
A Thermal Insulation Material Prepared from Orange Peels
Although many technological advancements in thermal insulation materials are into process across the globe, there have also been other ways of developing insulation materials from waste. One such example is the creation of flame-resistant polyurethane foams by a Pittsburg State University graduate student by using discarded orange peels. With an economical approach in mind, Charith Ranaweera depicted the utilization of polyurethane foam, prepared from his research by using orange peels, for thermal insulation with an additional advantage of fire-safety. Innovations like these will surely help better improve the efficiency and reduce costs regarding insulation in the near future.
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