Image and graphic side by side: Ambient conditions and evacuated core.

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, TN
DOE Total Funding: $500,000
Project Term: October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2019
Funding Type: Direct Funded

Project Objective

The overall goal of this project is to create novel multilayered barrier films with self-healing properties for vacuum insulation panels (VIPs). VIPs contain an evacuated core that is sealed within barrier films enabling VIPs to achieve low conductivity. Evacuating the core eliminates gas conduction, which is the dominant heat transfer mode in insulation materials. Due to the nature of VIPs, the durability of the barrier film is critically important. If the film is punctured or cut during handling, installation, or its service life, the VIP loses vacuum (due to gas/vapor permeation) and its conductivity rises, negating the benefits to the building envelope. A self-healing barrier film remediates any cuts or punctures and maintains the film impermeability, which retains the internal vacuum and low conductivity of the VIPs.

Project Impact

This project will improve the durability of VIPs by developing self-healing films that can maintain the low thermal conductivity of the VIPs even if the barrier film is cut or punctured. VIPs can achieve a conductivity of ≤0.004 W/m-K compared to current fiber and foam-based building insulations that have thermal conductivity values of 0.024 W/m-K or higher. However, when punctured, VIP conductivity can rise to 0.02 W/m-K. ORNL’s self-healing film will address this major concern and reduce the risks of thermal performance degradation during handling, installation and service life.


DOE Technology Manager: Sven Mumme
Lead Performer: Kaushik Biswas, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Publications

Biswas, K., Gilmer, D., Ghezawi, N., Cao, P., & Saito, T. Demonstration of self-healing barrier films for vacuum insulation panels. Vacuum, 164:132-139 (2019).

Self-healing barrier films for VIPs. K. Biswas, T. Saito, P. Cao, N. Ghezawi, K. Grady, D. Wood, R. Ruther, D. Gilmer. 2019 TechConnect World Innovation Conference, June 2019.

U.S. Provisional Patent, Self-Healing Barrier Films for Vacuum Insulation Panels, Serial Number: 62/618,715.