Superinsulation Materials Group

Improving the energy performance of the existing, mostly poorly insulated, building stock has the potential to reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling by >70%, corresponding to a reduction of about 25% of the total Swiss energy demand. Thus, improving building insulation is a key component to achieve the goals of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050. In the Superinsulation Materials Group, we develop the next-generation insulation materials with improved thermo-mechanical properties. Our activities range from fundamental research, industry-sponsored materials development, prototyping to the development of pilot-scale production technology.

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Aerogel insulation has a thermal conductivity, less than 15 mW/(m.K), that is half of that of conventional insulation, rock wool with 33 mW/(m.K) for example. As a result, the same energy performance can be achieved for half the insulation thickness. In the Superinsulation Materials Group, we aim to remove the two main barriers for the widespread adoption of aerogel insulation: production cost and mechanical strength. We do this by developing new production technology and new materials with improved mechanical properties. In addition, we develop new analytical tools to study aerogels and other sol-gel materials. Finally, we develop and invent novel applications for silica aerogel in miniaturized devices.