Noble-gas-infused neoprene closed-cell foams achieving ultra-low thermal conductivity fabrics

Jeffrey L. Moran, Anton L. Cottrill, Jesse D. Benck, Pingwei Liu, Zhe Yuan, Michael S. Strano, Jacopo Buongiorno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Closed-cell foams are widely applied as insulation and essential for the thermal management of protective garments for extreme environments. In this work, we develop and demonstrate a strategy for drastically reducing the thermal conductivity of a flexible, closed-cell polychloroprene foam to 0.031 ± 0.002 W m−1 K−1, approaching values of an air gap (0.027 W m−1 K−1) for an extended period of time (>10 hours), within a material capable of textile processing. Ultra-insulating neoprene materials are synthesized using high-pressure processing at 243 kPa in a high-molecular-weight gas environment, such as Ar, Kr, or Xe. A Fickian diffusion model describes both the mass infusion and thermal conductivity reduction of the foam as a function of processing time, predicting a 24–72 hour required exposure time for full charging of a 6 mm thick 5 cm diameter neoprene sample. These results enable waterproof textile insulation that approximates a wearable air gap. We demonstrate a wetsuit made of ultra-low thermally conductive neoprene capable of potentially extending dive times to 2–3 hours in water below 10 °C, compared with
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21389-21398
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Advances
Volume8
Issue number38
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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