Project Concept

To achieve high levels of insulation in buildings, external walls are getting thicker, resulting in a lower number of homes that can be built on the site. This factor implies issues in terms of space saving aspects, especially in large urban centres where the need to accommodate a large number of people becomes crucial. For retrofit, the application of thick insulation (required to achieve improved performance) to the inside of walls is often unwelcome because it impacts on the internal floor area. There is therefore a need for novel nano-based materials to supply the future required levels of insulation, without the insulation system being so thick that it meets with significant market resistance.

Until very recently, aerogels have been considered to be too expensive and mechanically fragile, to make their widespread use in the construction sector possible. In fact much of their cost has arisen from their fragility, and the expensive processing required toughening them to the point where they can survive the manufacturing process.

HIPIN will use the expertise that collectively exists within the consortium to:

  • Develop aerogels that are much more resilient. This will ensure that they are sufficiently robust to be incorporated into insulation systems without damage. The improvement in robustness will not significantly affect insulation performance: the resultant product will be at least ten times more effective than current insulating materials used in the volume construction market. Also, much of the cost of the production of aerogels comes from the fact that they are readily damaged. The development of more robust aerogels will therefore also contribute to cost reduction. A x30 reduction in the cost of aerogels is targeted.

 

  • Develop approaches that allow aerogels to be incorporated into a suitable vehicle that can be applied as thick paint layers or even thicker coatings, starting from a liquid or slurry product. Application to external surfaces of new build or retrofit buildings will be straightforward, so facilitating uptake of the HIPIN based products. The products could also be used on internal walls.