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Some "'Insulative'" or '"Insulating paints'" use a technology where a broad spectrum thermally reflective coating is applied to a specific type of micro-spheres to block heat radiation in a much larger or broader range of thermal energy (heat) to dissipate heat rapidly. This type of coated thermally reflective material (coated micro-sphere) reduces heat transfer through the coating with 90% of solar infrared radiation and 85% of ultraviolet radiation being radiated back from the coated surface.
An "Insulative" or "Insulating" paint works bi-directionally (reflects heat coming from either direction toward the painted surface. An example of this would be an exterior wall of a building to which an "Insulative" or "Insulating" paint has been applied. Solar induced heat (direct sunlight) is reflected from the surface as well as heat (winter months) that is migrating through the wall outward toward the colder outside air. A "thermal Image" or infra-red photograph will clearly show the reduction of winter time heat loss from a home through areas that have been painted with a true "Insulative" or "Insulating" paint.
The ability to reflect or block heat from all sources such as fireplaces, heaters, and radiators inside a building as well as sunlight is the value of a true "Insulative" or "Insulating" paint. These products reduce the work (heat loading) that "resistance insulation" such a fiberglass, foam, and rock wool have to do. These are typical insulation materials used in walls as well as ceilings of buildings.
Other Types of "Insulating Paint"
There is another type of "Insulative" or "Insulating paint" although the science behind the technology is still being organized for scientific methodology. Federal testing and procedures that indicate proper "Insulative" capabilities for the current 2014 Code of Federal Regulation standards have been performed. Including ASTM IR Emissivity test (E-408), Solar Reflectivity test (E-1918), Linear Coefficient of Thermal Expansion test (E-228), Thermal Conductivity test for R-value in Building Insulation (C-518), Density and Dimension of Performed Pipe Covering- type Thermal Insulation test (Density and Specific Heat)(C-302), and Mean Specific Heat of Thermal Insulation test (C-351). Complying with OTC, AQMD, and ARB. This technology was developed by a private company in the United States. All testing was conducted through an independent agency. More information will be coming soon.
Deception & fraud
There are deceptive companies that are marketing "insulating paint" for many applications who are engaged in a scam, and several such companies have been forced to cease their marketing practices after receiving warning letters from the Federal Trade Commission. These companies are merely riding the coat tails of legitimate companies engaged in the ceramic and coatings industries and are more marketing than substance. They incorporate materials such as glass spheres or fly ash into low quality paints.
Ultimately it is up to the consumer to research any product before purchasing. Legitimate companies will have manufacturing facilities and staff available to assist consumers.
The areas of the space shuttle that have the highest heat loading due to friction upon the shuttle's re-entry with the earths atmosphere are coated with a black carbon material which emits over 90% of the friction induced heat that the shuttle experiences upon rentry.
It should be noted that, while the ceramic technology was developed by NASA, no one has worked "with" NASA in developing products of this type or their associated coatings. Any statements to the contrary are merely marketing and misleading. The technology was considered declassified and released to the public in 1996. It is then up to the world marketplace to take the work of NASA scientists and researchers, and develop products from that point. Since 1976, NASA has featured between 40 and 50 commercial products which have benefited mankind worldwide as a result of NASA Technology in their annual premiere publication Spinoff Magazine. In 2003, after exhaustive research into how their technology was utilized, NASA selected the original 'Spinoff' industry leader. http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff2003/er_4.html