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Insulation

If you're a regular camper, you probably know what it's like to pitch a tent on a warm evening and wake up the following morning feeling like you're lying in an oven. Cold weather camping can be even more grim, and tents aren't renowned for their sound insulation either. Derek O'Sullivan reckons he's solved these issues with Thermo Tent, which his firm bills as the world's first correctly insulated tent. Read More
A house made from straw didn't work out so well in The Three Little Pigs, but maybe it's not such a bad idea after all. Sustainable building firm BaleHaus recently unveiled a number of new energy-efficient homes that feature a prefabricated straw insulation system, and promise a heating bill 90 percent lower than that of an average home. Read More
Homes may one day benefit from improved acoustic insulation with an orange flavor after researchers in Spain managed to turn waste material from orange trees into high-performance acoustic insulation. The new material is more environmentally friendly to produce and an improvement in terms of acoustic insulation compared to conventional laminated gypsum boards. Read More
Insulating your home may help the environment by lowering your energy usage, but unfortunately the petroleum-based foam that's typically used as insulation isn't all that eco-friendly itself. Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, however, have developed a reportedly greener alternative that they claim works just as well – it's foam made from wood. Read More
Put a polar bear and a biophotonics expert together in a chilly room and what do you get? Potentially, better insulation. When looking to uncover the secrets of the impressive insulation properties of polar bear fur, researchers at the University of Namur in Belgium and the University of Hassan I in Morocco found that radiation plays a larger role than conduction in the insulation of polar animals, such as penguins and polar bears, than previously believed. Read More
Say you were the third generation of a farming family in the southwest of Scotland, and you intended to build a new farmhouse that made a statement about resource consumption. Building an environmentally conscious house in this climate requires insulation up to the ears. Now let's say this was a sheep farm you were running … well, you would, wouldn't you? Read More
With the nasty tendency of its airborne fibers to cause lung cancer, the installation of asbestos building insulation has been banned in many countries for some time now. A lot of buildings still have the insulation, however, the fibers of which can get stirred up when work such as renovations or demolition are being performed. In order to help protect the people performing such work, scientists at the University of Hertfordshire have developed what they say is the world’s first portable, real-time detector of airborne asbestos. Read More
If you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you might be familiar with little balls of seaweed that regularly wash up on the beach. These come from the Posidonia oceanica plant (better known as Neptune grass), and are generally thought of as a nuisance. Now, however, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology is involved in a project that’s converting the little balls into high-quality building insulation. Read More
Often called "frozen smoke", aerogels are among the amazing materials of our time, with fifteen Guinness Book of World Records entries to their name. However, despite their list of extreme properties, traditional aerogels are brittle, crumbling and fracturing easily enough to keep them out of many practical applications. A new class of mechanically robust polymer aerogels discovered at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio may soon enable engineering applications such as super-insulated clothing, unique filters, refrigerators with thinner walls, and super-insulation for buildings. Read More
Mother Nature is a cruel vixen, and man needs every advantage he can get when attempting to ward off her fury. Blizzard Survival improves upon the traditional emergency blanket with a honeycomb-like build that both reflects and traps heat to keep you warm. It's a technology called Reflexcell. Read More
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