(C) Daniel Friedman Super High-R Insulation Products

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Specifications & sources for types of super High-R value insulation:

This article discusses the choices of super high-R value building insulation products and other very high R-value insulation products currently available for use on residential and commercial super insulated buildings. Sketch at page top and accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Q&A on Super High R-Value Insulation Products

The question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

Information on Advanced Super-Insulation Products for buildings


I recently read an advertisement in which a new "miracle" insulation rated at R-16 per inch had passed initial tests at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

Do you have any information about this very high-R insulating material? -- Blair Sponaugle, Roswell NM


For in the early 1980's, Oak Ridge National Laboratories began investigating exotic high-R insulations for use in appliances. The most promising contender to emerge was ultra-fine (200 angstroms) "fumed" amorphous silica particles sandwiched in an evacuated panel of aluminumized plastic.

One prototype very high R prototype panel from France consistently tested at R-16.6 per inch for over two and a half years - demonstrating the panel's ability to hold its vacuum, at least in a laboratory setting.

The panel's main drawback was the powder's exorbitant cost.

Preliminary tests on a far cheaper substitute super insulation material - waste product of silicon production - were very encouraging, with test results as high as R-34 per inch.

It is important to note that if the insulating panel is punctured or damaged, the vacuum and the super high-R values are lost. This would likely preclude most building applications for this type of insulation, though its use in appliances is promising.

"Development of Advanced Thermal Insulation for Appliances," Oak Ridge National Laboratories, ORNL/TM-9121 is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

As for the super high-R miracle insulation advertisement you cited, we suspect it is a misuse of the Oak Ridge findings, since at the time of your question, those products had yet to emerge from the testing laboratory.

Also see Ceramic Insulation.

Current High-R Building Insulation Products for Super Insulated buildings

The high-R insulating panel building products currently in most common use are POLYSTYRENE FOAM INSULATION and POLYISOCYANURATE FOAM and IAQ panels and also polyurethane spray foam (URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing). These materials have a typical R-value of about R-5 to R-6 per inch, though when installed with a radiant surface (that might help) and a 3/4" air gap, the R-value is increased substantially - as we detail below. Fiberglass batts, which are still most-widely used in residential construction, are about R-3 per inch.

Here are some currently-available high-R building insulation products as well as some specialty very high-R insulation materials:

This article is reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

Original article

The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below has been preceded by an expanded/updated online version of this article.


Continue reading at CERAMIC INSULATION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Suggested citation for this web page

SUPER HI-R INSULATION at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman