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Insulation

Samples of Fraunhofer's wood foam insulation

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

Mimicking polar bear fur, which is able to insulate the animal's body to temperatures of 9...

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

All of the house's external walls have been insulated with wool from the farm (Photo: Mark...

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

The portable detector analyzes scattered laser light to identify asbestos (Photo: Paul Kay...

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

Washed up dead seaweed known as Neptune balls is being converted into building insulation ...

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

Flexible sheets of NASA's new polymer aerogel. A sheet this thick would provide thermal in...

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

Reflexcell emergency blankets use honeycomb construction for more warmth

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

Sierra Designs men's Gnar Lite jacket

Outdoor clothing manufacturers are determined to solve the one problem that the world's ultimate insulator has: ineffectiveness when wet. Sierra Designs and Brooks Range are both introducing specially treated down jackets, that they claim work effectively in both wet and dry conditions.  Read More

A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...

Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More

RavenSkin insulation delays heat transfer for when temperatures drop

RavenBrick, the company that brought us the smart tinting RavenWindow, has added to its folio of temperature regulating building materials with RavenSkin. Unlike traditional insulation that blocks all heat equally, this innovative wall insulation material absorbs heat during the day to keep the interior cool and slowly releases the stored heat at night to warm the building when the sun goes down.  Read More

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