High-Performance Nano Insulation Materials for Energy-Efficient Buildings

B.P. Jelle, B.G. Tilset, T. Gao, M. Grandcolas, O.M. Løvvik, R.A. Bohne, S.A. Mofid, S. Ng, E. Sagvolden
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and, SINTEF Building and Infrastructure,

Keywords: nano insulation material, NIM, hollow silica nanosphere, HSNS, hollow silica nanofibre, HSNF, thermal conductivity


High-performance nano insulation materials (Hi-Per NIM) may be developed by exploiting the Knudsen effect for reduced thermal conductivity and thus make thermal insulation materials with a nanoporous air-filled structure. Hence, these NIMs are supposed to maintain their thermally insulating properties with nanopores filled with air at atmospheric pressure. NIMs with very low thermal conductivity values will enable the use of normal or thin wall thicknesses in energy-efficient buildings. Very thick building envelopes are not desirable due to several reasons, e.g. considering space issues with respect to both economy, floor area, transport volumes, architectural restrictions and other limitations, material usage and existing building techniques. This study will present an exploration of attempting to achieve NIMs through experimental laboratory development of hollow silica nanospheres (HSNS), hollow silica nanofibres (HSNF) and hollow silica integrated nanospheres and nanofibres, alongside theoretical modelling and sustainability investigations. That is, issues related to chemical synthesis and optimization, theoretical models for thermal transport, health, safety, environmental aspects and life cycle assessment will be addressed.