Today’s thermal insulating materials need to be very thick, if they are to insulate well. Marc Fricke and his team, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, have developed a new insulating material with excellent insulation values of 16 mW/mK compared to those of 21–40 mW/mK for classical insulating materials. It is easy to produce and extremely thin: An approx. 15 cm thick wall of the new material insulates as well as a classical, nearly 50 cm thick house wall does.
The new material, SLENTITETM, is a polyurethane that possesses 50–100 nm large pores, which are formed by a newly developed aerogel production process. The pores trap air molecules and thus reduce the transfer of heat. As the pores are open, the material can take up and release moisture. This produces a pleasant room climate and prevents mold.
BASF has started to build a pilot production plant in Lemförde close to Osnabrück, Germany, which is scheduled to start production in mid-2014. Potential applications wil be in the construction and refrigeration sectors.
Picture: Dr. Marc Fricke, laboratory head for advanced materials & systems research, presents the new material. © BASF
- BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany