Phase-Changing Insulation

From WorldChanging, a very cool development from German chemical company BASF: phase-changing insulation. So far, tests with this product,

along with high-efficiency windows and other energy-saving features, results in the buildings requiring only about one liter of oil per square meter for annual heating — 5% of the average home requirement in Germany, and well below the nation’s new efficiency mandate of 7 liters per square meter.

The main material in this super-insulation? Wax:

Underneath the wallpaper is an innocuous looking plaster which is designed to ensure that the interior temperature of the house is always comfortable. The secret is millions of tiny wax capsules embedded within the plaster, which regulate the temperature. These microcapsules measure a hundredth of a millimetre or less, and work on the principle of latent heat. In other words, if it gets too hot outside, the wax melts and soaks up the excess heat, keeping it cooler for longer inside. However, if the weather gets too cold, the wax solidifies again and releases the stored heat. According to Dr Patrick Amrhein, head of the research team at BASF which pioneered these phase changing materials, or PCMs, the microcapsules are so effective at climate control that a mere inch of this plaster has the same heat absorption capability as a 10in thick timber-bricked wall.

Apparently, this stuff could have major implications for all sorts of products, from clothing to packaging…

Technorati tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *