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The Many Uses for Aluminum Foil

2016-07-01

When choosing insulations, one thing that many purchasers don't think about is how much sound protection is this going to provide? This question, however, is one that every insulation purchaser should ask him or herself, especially if noise is an issue in the structure being insulated. That is because some types of insulators provide better acoustical insulation than others.

All of this adds to why aluminum foil is so often used in thermal insulation and it has a very interesting scientific story behind its usage. As an insulator it can be traced to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. When astronauts lift off into the atmosphere, they are exposed to extremely high and low temperatures. To protect them from these volatile shifts in heat and cold, in the 1950s NASA turned to aluminum foil for its insulation abilities. Reflective, lightweight aluminum foil inside their space suits solved the problem.

If one thinks about these two sides of the insulation coin collectively, it stands to reason that metals like stainless steel and aluminum would achieve optimal insulation properties. Not only are both metals extremely durable to provide a solid barrier against the cold/heat but they also have superior reflective qualities. It is this ability to reflect that gathers in the heat where and when it is desired.

Reflective aluminum foil is the most commonly used material when it comes to radiant barriers. Wikipedia defines a radiant barrier as a way of reducing the "radiation of heat to or from the surface of a material." Such barriers "reflect radiant energy." This reflective capability protects against heat during the hot summer months and corrals heat during the colder winter months.