Heating and cooling accounts for at least 36% of the energy consumed in the US and in nearly all cases increasing the insulation (R-value) of the thermal barrier will reduce the energy consumed. Space and economic considerations usually limit the insulation in the walls of a building’s envelope to R – 15 (ft2*hr*°F/Btu) which requires 3 to 4 inches of space. We are developing a ½ inch thick vacuum insulation panel (VIP) with tensile supports. This VIP will have an R value over 55 including edge losses on a 39 inch x 39 inch square panel. While the VIP can be used in the construction for new buildings, the real challenge is to develop economical methods to attach VIPs to existing buildings, since an exceedingly small fraction (< 1%) of buildings are constructed each year. Decreasing the energy consumption required for heating and cooling requires increasing the R value in existing building’s envelopes.
Professor Feinerman's research interests are the development of ultra low thermal conductivity insulation, microfluidics for laboratory on a chip and drug delivery, distributed physical vapor deposition of alloys and compounds, and granular physics.
Alan D. Feinerman, P. Gupta, T. Dankovic, David W. Yarbrough
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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL