Thermal Performance
Understanding How Reflective Insulation Works

Heat flows from a hot or warm medium to a cold medium in three ways:


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Convection »  Typical examples of heat transfer through convection:
    1. Warm air rising from a heat register. (forced convection)
    2. 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)
    3. 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:


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