Nanotechnology Creates Thinner Walls that Hold in Heat - dummies

Nanotechnology Creates Thinner Walls that Hold in Heat

By Earl Boysen, Nancy C. Muir, Desiree Dudley, Christine Peterson

Aerogels using nanotechnology have applications in construction, where they can be used to insulate buildings. For example, Aspen Aerogel says that 1 inch of their Spaceloft insulation will give an R-value of R10.3. Conventional insulation must be 5.5 inches thick to get an R19 insulating value, but you get more insulating bang than R19 with only a 2-inch layer of Spaceloft.

One use of this product is to add insulation to existing houses without making the walls significantly thicker, which would reduce the living space. For example, the Proctor Group is using Spaceloft in their Spacetherm insulation.

In one project, the Proctor Group added only 40 mm (about 1.6 inches) of Spaceloft to the inside of uninsulated brick walls to create much more efficient insulation. Cabot Corporation can supply their aerogel material, Nanogel, in granules, which can allow builders to use the insulating material to fill wall cavities, as well as to install it in sheets.


Another use for aerogel is to block thermal loss through the metal or wooden studs that provide the framework for a house. Yet another aerogel manufacturer, Thermablok, illustrates the way that their product is installed in a typical house on their website.