What is thermal shock?
Thermal shock occurs when materials are rapidly exposed to extreme temperatures. Severe and/or repeated exposure to sudden changes in temperature can lead to degradations in material strength or performance. This can cause issues for some insulation materials, or even lead to thermal shock failure. Depending on their thermal expansion coefficients, different materials may undergo varying levels of expansion which can cause tears, ruptures, and fractures.
Thermal shock resistance
If sudden or extreme temperatures occur in your application, it is important that your components and materials be resistant to thermal shock. Thermal shock tests are useful for determining the resistance properties. It is crucial that component parts be able to withstand the thermal stresses that can occur in challenging systems.
Advanced vacuum insulation
Insulon® advanced vacuum insulation is one type of high-performance thermal insulation that can withstand extreme thermal shock. Unlike some more conventional forms of vacuum insulation, Insulon® is built with proprietary technology that supports the long-term integrity of the vacuum space, even when taken to higher temperatures. This technology allows Insulon® to maintain deep vacuum levels, operate reliably for long periods of time, operate in high-temperature environments, and resist thermal shock.
In the video below, an Insulon® vacuum insulated canister undergoes a thermal shock resistance test at 500°C without suffering any measurable decrease in performance. Insulon® advanced vacuum insulation can be designed to operate in thermal environments as high as 1000°C.
Thermal shock vs thermal cycling
Thermal shock occurs when components or materials are rapidly cooled or heated. Thermal cycling, on the other hand, describes a pattern in which components are continually exposed to two or more different temperatures. In a thermal cycling process, a component or material would undergo changes across a temperature range in a cyclical, predictable pattern. In other words, thermal shock exposure might happen in one instance, whereas thermal cycling could occur repeatedly.
In addition to thermal shock, Insulon® advanced vacuum insulation can deliver high-performance insulation while undergoing thermal cycling. The analysis below shows the performance of an Insulon® component exposed to 20,000 thermal cycles at 450°C. For this thermal cycling test, one cycle was defined as a 3-minute ramp-up during which the component reaches steady-state, followed by a 2-minute cool-down.
Other types of shock testing
Depending on the application, insulation components and materials may need to withstand a variety of shocks and stresses. In addition to thermal shock and thermal cycling, some systems require components or materials that can withstand mechanical shock or vibration testing.
When we begin our engineering vacuum insulation, we focus on developing an intricate understanding of your application’s challenges before entering the design and prototyping phase. Be sure to let us know about any thermal or mechanical shock parameters so that we can design and manufacture a final product that is optimized specifically for your system. Withstanding shock and stress is critical for reliable and effective insulation components. Our goal is to deliver high-performance thermal barriers that enhance your application’s overall performance.