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Committee on Thermal Insulation Developing Center-of-Panel Measurement Standard

Heat transfer through a vacuum insulation panel is highly dependent on the materials and geometry of the panel. This means that heat transfer measurements made at different locations on the panel will give different results, with none of the measured values representing the total performance of the panel. In order to better predict the whole-panel thermal performance of a vacuum insulation panel, Subcommittee C16.30, Thermal Measurements, is developing a new standard practice, WK4998, to measure the center-of-panel thermal resistivity of vacuum panels using the heat flux meter (C 516) method. All interested parties are invited to participate in the development of the new standard.

The origin of the new test method is the description of center-of-panel thermal resistivity found in C 1484, Specification for Vacuum Insulation Panels. In addition, round robins completed during the development of C 1484 are providing an experience base for the new test method.

According to Therese Stovall, senior research engineer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, vacuum panels are a relatively young product with a potential for market growth in the United States, but are alrerady commonly used in Europe and Japan where energy prices are higher and space is considered more valuable. Vacuum panels are used in refrigerator/freezer products, including high-end residential refrigerators as well as those used in recreational vehicles or laboratories. In addition, vacuum panels are used in packaging for items such as medical supplies and gourmet food.

For further technical information, contact Therese Stovall, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn. (phone: 865/574-0329). Committee C16 on Thermal Insulation meets Oct. 3-6 during the October Committee Week in Washington, D.C. For membership or meeting details, contact Tim Brooke, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9729). //

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