Thermal additive adds energy efficiency to insulation coatings

Cabot Corporation introduces Enova aerogel, a high-performance thermal additive designed for insulation coatings. The company's research team has found that applying a 1-mm coating containing the new aerogel to a 200° C metal surface meets both U.S. and European testing protocols for safe touch temperature, preventing first-degree burns that would normally occur within five seconds of skin contact. This protects employees and also helps keep pipe contents at optimal temperatures. Coatings that contain the Enova aerogel can also be used to insulate cold surfaces, which can help eliminate freezer burns and reduce power requirements needed to keep contents cold.

Enova aerogel is designed to be applied to surfaces that aren't already insulated, but should be. For example, this includes hard-to-reach and large areas of exposed metal where traditional insulation types can't be used. The new aerogel may be added either during formulation or onsite and does not have negative effects on coating viscosity.

Many industrial applications could benefit from the new insulating additive, including any equipment that has bare metal requiring insulation. Chemical plants, reactors, HVAC equipment, catering appliances, and shipping containers can be protected with a thin insulating coating. An added bonus is that the gel is also hydrophobic and helps protect contents from seawater.

Cabot’s Enova product line is made of aerogel, reportedly the best insulating solid particle. Each particle consists of more than 90% air trapped within a network of amorphous silica, making it twice as insulating as still air. The low thermal conductivity of Enova aerogel -- 12 mW/mK -- is better than traditional insulation such as polyurethane foam (typically 30 mW/mK) and additives such as glass or ceramic microspheres. When used in water-borne formulations, the coating can achieve a thermal conductivity that is is seven to 10 times more insulating than paint.

For more information, contact Cabot Corp., 157 Concord Rd., Billerica, MA 01821. Phone: (978) 670-6113.

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