EcoFoil How Reflective Foil Works
How Does Reflective Foil Work and Why Use It
Reflective foil insulation is a fairly young product in the market of household and commercial insulation products. It was developed based on NASA science that protected the Space Shuttle from radiant heat as it entered and exited the Earth's atmosphere and traveled in space. The high temperatures encountered by spacecraft put incredible stress on the shell of the space vehicles that might cause the materials to fail. By using the reflective properties of foil insulation to act like a mirror and bounce that radiant heat away from the vehicle, the stress on the shell was greatly reduced. NASA's success inspired innovations for household and commercial use of the same science and reflective foil insulation was developed.
The metal of reflective foil insulation is Aluminum (AL), a metal with very special relationships with heat (energy). Aluminum a very efficient conductor of energy when it is in direct contact with a given object. Conversely, if there is an open space, often termed an air space, between the surface of the aluminum and the object the Aluminum will reflect the energy away from the object.
When Aluminum touches an object it transfers heat through conductivity When Aluminum is a barrier between a heat source an object with an air space, it reflects heat.
The roof and walls of a house are exposed to radiant heat from the Sun every day much like the Space Shuttle was exposed to radiant heat traveling through the atmosphere. The heat isn't at critical levels that would weaken your roof or walls, but it is strong enough to heat up the shingles and tar paper on your roof, which then heats the under layment and then the rafters in your attic and then seeps inside to drive the temperature unbearably high in that enclosed space. Even a barrier of traditional mass insulation, like fiberglass, between your attic and living spaces will soak up that heat and then eventually transfer it to cooler areas inside your home. If you're using air conditioning to keep those areas of your home comfortable, then you're paying to banish the radiant heat that is coming in from the attic as well.
Reflective foil insulation stops the radiant heat. Properly installed, Aluminum insulation can reflect up to 97% of the heat that would enter your attic space back outside your home.
In climates where the concern is keeping air that you've paid to heat in rather than out, reflective foil insulation works with your cellulose insulation to prevent heat from seeping outward into the attic space and beyond. Read more about the seasonal functions of radiant barrier.
Insulating the attics of residential homes is just one of many uses for reflective foil insulation in modern buildings. Additional applications include: