Insulative paint is commonly thought to be paint containing ceramic micro-spheres that have the same heat reflective properties as the tiles on the space shuttle. This is a misconception that has come about due to marketing by paint manufacturers. The Space Shuttle does not use ceramic microspheres as insulation but instead uses a proprietary ceramic based material that has the feel and weight of typical styrofoam.
Ceramic microspheres were developed by [3M- reference: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/microspheres-fillers-filled-with-possibilities) and are used as lightweight fillers for plastics, putties, as well as in paint. Many micro-spheres are hollow and some are solid. Hollow microspheres may be filled with inert gas or a vacuum. Microsphere When used in paint, the vacuum spheres act as miniature thermos bottles.
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 (reference: http://depts.washington.edu/matseed/mse_resources/Webpage/Space%20Shuttle%20Tiles/Space%20Shuttle%20Tiles.htm) which reflects over 90% of the friction induced heat that the shuttle experiences upon rentry. A true "Insulative" or "Insulating paint" uses a parallel 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. A true "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.
Companies that market "insulating paint" for residential applications 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. (Reference: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/insulating-paint-merchants-dupe-gullible-homeowners .)
History: 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. (reference: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/disclaimer.htm) 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. (reference: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff2003/er_4.html) Video, - how it works: http://magic2save.com/videos/
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2007)|