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something About Thermal Conductivity Insulators

Jun 6

When purchasing or installing Thermal Conductivity insulators, it is important to consider its thermal conductivity. It is a measure of how much heat can be passed through the insulation when compared with its thickness.

Insulators with low conductivity provide the best thermal performance. This is achieved by preventing the flow through of electricity on the surface atoms of molecules that are in bulk configurations.


Polystyrene, pronounced pol-eeSTYE-rene, is a synthetic polymer thermoplastic that is derived from monomer styrene. It softens with heat and is used in a wide variety of plastic products. These include bottles, containers, disposable utensils, and many more. Polystyrene is also available as a foam material commonly known as Styrofoam.

The low thermal conductivity gas is the basis for both expanded and extruded foam insulation. Their thermal properties are mainly determined by the existence of gas pockets that prevent large-scale convection.

The thermal conducting capacity of a particular material is the heat that is conducted per unit of time through the thickness of a given material at a temperature difference between the two materials of one degree Celsius. It is measured as kcal Btu = m-1 C-1 or m-1°C-1 ft-2 h-1 degF-1.

Expanded Polystyrene can be found in refrigerators, food and drink cups and packaging. It is inexpensive and lightweight but it doesn't break down in the environment and it is very difficult to recycle. Chronic exposure to styrene can affect the central nervous system and can lead to headaches, fatigue and confusion.


Micas are a grouping silicate minerals which have the ability of splitting (mineralogists describe this as micaceous separation) into thin elastic plates. This unique physical characteristic is why micas are used to make insulators. They are also highly resistant to heat and can support an electric field without expending much energy.

Micas occur in a wide variety of rocks but are commonly found in igneous and Pegmatites. They can appear as sheets of mineral flakes, which are sometimes called "flint," or "sheet mica," or as large crystals.

Sheet mica is often used as electrical insulation for commutator segments in motors. It's also known for having a high dielectric resistance and a high chemical stability. It is not affected at all by water or most acids and solvents. It is resistant to abrasion and can withstand high temperature. It is non-flammable, and incombustible. It is used for a variety products, including thermal and electrical applications.


Cellulose (organic polysaccharide) is a component in plant cell wall and certain bacteria. It is the most common biopolymer in the world and has a variety of uses. Its sources can be renewable and present minimal environmental, health and security risks.

In wood cellulose fibers, along with lignin, form a matrix. This matrix supports plant cells by making them rigid. This matrix is responsible for the strength of wood. Humans cannot digest cellulose because it lacks the necessary enzymes, but it is used in the diet as a dietary fiber.

French chemist Anselme Payen isolated cellulose from wood in 1838 and determined its molecular formula. He also recognized that cellulose chains contain regions that have a disordered structure and others which are highly organized (crystalline). These ordered cellulose microfibrils are what make up a fibrous, strong material. These chains are linked together by acetal oxygen covalently bonding the C1 and C4 hydroxyl groups of glucose units. These bonds form elementary fibrils of cellulose that can be gathered into larger and smaller cellulose fibers.

Mineral Fibers

Mineral wools are made up of interwoven fibres that come from natural materials. These include silica or rock (glass wool), slag, basalt, diabase or slag. They are one of most popular insulating products, as they combine excellent thermal and sound properties with water resistance. It is available in blanket (batts or roll), board type panels and loose fill insulation.

Comparing them to other thermal insulators they have a higher Specific Heat Capacity and lower Thermal Conductivity, k-values, versus temperature. The SHC is a property that refers to the capacity of a material to absorb and retain energy over time, providing thermal buffering.

The kvalue is a parameter used to determine the rate of heat transmission per unit area of a material. It is based upon the fact that heat energy transfer through a substance depends on both temperature differences and the physical contacts between the particles. Mineral wool's k value varies according to temperature because of the pore structure.

Additional Resources:
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