Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic brand products, today announced development of the world's first flexible vacuum insulation panel. Known "Chip-Vacua," the shapeable and adjustable vacuum insulation can be used in places and for products, such as floor heating and bath tubs, where conventional vacuum insulation panels cannot be applied.
The Chip-Vacua utilizes Matsushita's newly developed manufacturing technology. It enables to arrange the Chip (composition of heat insulation patterns) independently and heat-seal the entire surface of the envelope containing the core material during evacuation. Conventional sealing processes only produce square or flat insulation panels, and application is limited mainly to refrigerators. Matsushita's Chip-Vacua consists of many individual vacuum insulation cells, making the insulation material very flexible.
The new flexible vacuum insulation provides approximately five times the heat insulation of conventional rigid urethane foam and 10 times that of glass wool with coefficient of thermal conductivity of 0.0050W/mK (24°C). This thermal high performance directly contributes to comfortable living and reduced energy costs.
Matsushita has also developed a reinforced multilayer laminate film to securely envelope the core. The new impermeable laminate film is composed of eight to 10 layers of metal foil, plastic film and adhesives. A shock-absorbing layer is added for improved resistance to punchering and abrasive surface. When the Chip-Vacua is laid flat on a fine-grained sand surface (about 1 mm in diameter), the occurrence of pinholes is reduced to one-tenth that of conventional film. It can survive rough handling and tough environments like construction sites.
The Chip-Vacua is scheduled for commercial applications during 2005.
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