Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Wall Insulator

  1. Mar 9, 2007 #1
    Why don't they use pieces of plastic or some material in between two by fours that are vacuum sealed. Isn't the Specific of a vacuum zero?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I am assuming that you are talking in regards to insulating properties. There are a few reasons that I can think of off the top of my head:

    1) More complicated parts used in the fabrication of buildings/homes thus causing new skills and building techniques to be employed and thus driving up the costs.

    2) The vacuum seal would only last for a certain number of years. Anyone who has Argon or other gaseous type filled windows will tell you the same thing.

    3) The studs and the box used to "contain" the vacuum are still pathways for heat and noise transfer.

    Given the complexity and added costs involved, I'd bet that the benefits of using such a system would be minimal, especially when it is easier to make accommodations for more of a standard type of insulator.
  4. Mar 9, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How would you get plastic to hold up a vacuum anyway?
  5. Mar 9, 2007 #4
    Many insulation systems rely on captured air for at least part of their insulating value, such as double pane windows, fiberglass, celular glass, double wall vents, etc. It is easier to hold air than a vacuum and air is actually a pretty good insulator.
  6. Mar 9, 2007 #5
    Thanks guys.
  7. May 14, 2007 #6
    Why would a vacuum help you?

    Somehow earth receives heat from the sun :wink:
  8. May 14, 2007 #7
    A thought I often have: Imagine a completely sealed chamber suspended by magnets and surrounded by a vacuous space, in between its exterior and a second structure that serves as a seal for the vacuum and support for the magnets. The interior of this suspended structure would be totally sound proof and have high thermal insulation.

    Of course, life support for anybody within this structure would be an issue, but not one that is impossible to overcome.

    I first started thinking about this concept when I used to play the drums. Such a structure, with suitable oxygen supply, would be great as a drum room!
  9. May 14, 2007 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Assuming (due to the wink) that this is a serious question....

    The sun gives us energy through radiation. When the temperature difference is relatively small and conduction and convection exist, conduction and convection play a much bigger role. A vacuum completely eliminates conduction and convection.
  10. May 14, 2007 #9
    So here's what we do. We get a house, and a mold of the house at a 110% scale. We place the house inside the mold, then take all of the air outside of the space in between them. We then magnetize both the floor and the foundation, make em the same charge (we'd need to re-align the domains periodically, so the magnets do not weaken), then voila! We have a completely noise-free, insulated house.

    © DyslexicHobo, 2007.
  11. May 14, 2007 #10

    Er, scroll up a little. Your idea sounds very familiar!
  12. May 14, 2007 #11
    Hah, didn't even read that. I hate people who steal ideas before they are even published, said, or even thought about. Yeah... those copyright infringers!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook