Understanding How Reflective Insulation Works
Heat flows from a hot or warm medium to a cold medium in three ways:
- By radiation, from a warm surface to a cooler surface through an air space
- By conduction through solid or fluid materials
- By convection, which involves the physical movement of air
- Radiation » Radiation is the transfer of heat (infra-red radiant energy) from a hot surface to a cold surface across an air space or vacuum. All surfaces including those of a radiator, stove, a ceiling or roof and insulation radiate to different degrees. The radiant heat is invisible and has no temperature, just energy. When this energy strikes another surface, it is absorbed and increases the temperature of that surface. This concept can be understood with the following example: On a bright sunny day, radiant heat from the sun travels through a car’s window, strikes the steering wheel and is absorbed, causing it to become hot.
- Conduction » Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a material resulting from physical contact. A typical example of conduction would be the heat transferred from hot coffee, through the cup, to the hand holding the cup. Another example is when the contents of a kettle boils from heat transferred from the burner to the kettle. Also, a poker becomes hot from contact with hot coals.
- Convection » Typical examples of heat transfer through convection:
- Warm air rising from a heat register. (forced convection)
- Warm air rising from all surfaces of a radiator, furnace or wood stove.
(after air in contact with such surfaces has been heated by conduction)
- Warm air rising from a chimney. (free convection)
Reflective insulation and radiant barriers have the ability to control the transfer of radiant heat in a variety of different applications including buildings, RVs and temperature-sensitive packaging.
Unlike mass insulation, reflective insulation is able to keep heat in and reflect heat away. Mass insulation material like fiberglass and foam merely slow down the transfer of heat; they do not reflect heat away, nor do they keep heat in.
Reflective insulation has the ability to control the transfer of radiant heat. In fact, Innovative Energy's products reflect (block) 94 percent of radiant heat. Our products are ideal for:
- Buildings and home insulation: Heating and cooling systems simply work more efficiently when reflective insulation is installed in key areas of a building.
- Temperature-sensitive packaging: Keeps perishable and temperature-sensitive items safe in shipping and transportation; helps maintain food safety and quality for prepared food.
- Insulation for RVs and fleet vans: Thin, light, reflective insulation and duct systems are ideal for efficiently heating and cooling small spaces.
- Controlling heat transfer in just about any situation: Innovative Energy specializes in creating customized solutions for all types of applications. If you have a need to control heat transfer, let Innovative Energy help. Contact us to find out how we can develop a solution to perfectly suit your needs. Click here or call us at 1-800-776-3645.
Find Out More About Our Products