Reflective Technology - An Old Concept
The Scottish chemist and physicist, Sir James Dewar (1842-1923) invented the thermos flask (1892), also known as the Dewar flask or vacuum flask. The purpose of the flask was to store liquid gases at very low temperatures. The basic function was to thermally insulate the contents in the flask, preventing heat from flowing either in or out.
In our illustration below, radiation is reduced to a minimum by silvering the glass, generally on the two internal faces, so that the radiant heat waves are reflected. Different types of insulation products can reduce the heat transferred by conduction, convection and radiation to varying degrees. As a result, each provides a different thermal performance and corresponding "R" values. The primary function of reflective insulation is to reduce radiant heat transfer across open spaces. The low emittance metal surface of reflective insulation blocks up to 94% + of the radiation, and therefore, a significant part of the heat transfer.
Reflective Insulation vs. Mass Insulation
A foam cup "insulates" a cup of coffee as mass insulation does and attains an actual R-value. The reflective surface of a thermos jug lining keeps liquid hot or cold. For example, if you take hot coffee, the heat within a thermos is reflected back inside while the cold outside is reflected away. Like the thermos jug in the illustration, Reflectix® Insulation reflects and separates "heat" from -60 degrees to a +180 degrees without an R-value. Would you rather drink coffee from a thermos jug or a foam cup hours later?
There are a wide variety of terms and words associated with the Reflectix® family of products. Those in common usage are itemized below in two categories - Products & Applications.
Products: Reflective Insulation, Radiant Barrier, Cathedral Ceiling Insulation, Crawl Space Insulation, Concrete Slab Insulation, Duct Insulation Indoors, Duct Insulation Outdoors, Duct Insulation Spacers, Expansion Joint, Knee Wall Insulation, Pipe Wrap Insulation, Radiant Floor Insulation, Return Air Duct Panning, Wall Insulation, Water Heater Insulation, Metal Building Insulation, Post and Frame Building Insulation, Foil Tape, Metalized Tape, White Poly Tape, Sill Sealer, Foil Insulation, Foil Radiant Barrier, Bubble Pack Insulation, Bubble Insulation, HVAC Insulation, Easy to Install Insulation, No Itch Insulation, Energy Saving Products, Energy Efficient Products. Also, Products/Terms within our industry include: Low-e Coatings, Radiant Barrier Paint, Radiation Control Coatings, Radiant Barrier Plywood, Radiant Barrier Decking, Radiant Barrier Chips, Radiant Barrier Tax Credit.
Applications: Attic, Behind Hot Water Radiator, Cathedral Ceiling, Concrete Slab, Crawl Space, Duct Indoors, Duct Outdoors, Expansion Joint, Garage Door, Knee Wall, Pipe Wrap, Radiant Floor, Snow Melt, Sill Sealer, Storage Buildings, Exterior Wall, Masonry Wall, Water Heater, Wine Room, Work Shop, Agricultural Building, Commercial Building, Return Air Panning, Metal Building Roof, Metal Building Wall, Post and Frame Building Roof, Post and Frame Building Wall.