Reflectix Insulation Value - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-20-2010, 09:27 AM   #1
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Name: Don
Trailer: 1978 Boler B1700 RGH
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Reflectix Insulation Value

After posting that I was going to salvage the original ensolite on the Boler I than proceeded to remove it all. I have sanded the entire interior. I am now searching for a replacement and have been looking at Reflectix again. After looking at their web site I understand it to say there is no reflective insulation value if there is no air space between the reflectix and the trailer wall. Reflectix Inc. | All About Reflectix® | Frequently Asked Questions . Is this correct or am I misunderstanding.
I know people have used this product and I would appreciate hearing their thoughts.

Thanks again

Don
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
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The whole reason for using Reflectix instead of a simple foil barrier is that it has a built-in air space. If you're hanging a reflective barrier in your attic, Reflectix is a waste of money since you could hang aluminized or foil-laminated material and have an air space on both sides. Confused?

Reflective barriers work because they are not only good reflectors or infrared (duh!), but, by definition, they are poor emitters as well. Likewise, good heat absorbers, such as flat black surfaces, also make very good infrared emitters. Aluminum works very well as a reflector of both visible light and most of the infrared band.

If a single layer of foil is used as a barrier and both sides are glued to some other material, heat is transferred right through the aluminum (which is a very good conductor of heat) into the adjacent bonded layer. An air space on the warmer side of the foil will allow the warmer material to emit its heat, a little of which will be absorbed by the air, but most of it will reflect off of the foil surface, where it will be reabsorbed by the warmer surface. This is pretty intuitive. The second, non-obvious way the barrier works when the foil is on the OUTSIDE of the warmer surface. Remember, shiny aluminum foil makes a poor heat emitter as well. What happens is that the warmer but foil-covered surface will emit very little of its heat into the air space. Again, if the foil is glued to something (like your cool new fake ostrich leather headliner) without that air space, the heat will pass right on through.

Reflectix has two layers of foil with what is basically bubble wrap in between. It was made so that it can be glued or sandwiched on one or both sides and still function as a reflective barrier because (this question will be on your semester exam) it has a built-in air gap. New Scamp trailers (and probably other ones as well) use two layers of Reflectix.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a nice little tutorial on reflective barriers as used in buildings at Radiant Barrier Fact Sheet
The take-away here is that you'll do best with radiant barrier plus thermal insulation. Thick insulation in a little egg camper takes up a lot of space, so two layers of Reflectix is a nice compromise. I plan to put low-E film on my windows to augment the Reflectix when I reline my Scamp shell.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:27 PM   #3
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Jon, I remember reading on one manufacturer's website that the air gap must be 1" to be effective.

Obviously the two layers Scamp is using seems to work pretty well so do you think it's because of the two layers combined or just that the "bubble wrap" itself provides enough of an air gap.

Do you know if the Scamp "rat fur" has a thin foam backing and thus would act as a bit of thermal insulation you mention?

Kevin
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Don A View Post
After posting that I was going to salvage the original ensolite on the Boler I than proceeded to remove it all. I have sanded the entire interior. I am now searching for a replacement and have been looking at Reflectix again. After looking at their web site I understand it to say there is no reflective insulation value if there is no air space between the reflectix and the trailer wall. Reflectix Inc. | All About Reflectix® | Frequently Asked Questions . Is this correct or am I misunderstanding.
I know people have used this product and I would appreciate hearing their thoughts.

Thanks again

Don
It has been a while since I looked at their web site, but what I remember is that the insulation value was very very low. Insulation value usually comes from trapped air or gas inside the insulation. Usually the smaller that these trapped gas pockets are the better the insulating value (R-value). Reflectix has trapped air pockets in the bubbles but they are huge in size compared to other types of insulation. The larger the air pockets, the easier air within them circulates, transfering heat. In addition to the large bubble size, Reflectix is not very thick and insulating value depends on thickness.

I think it is deceptive for them to include air space on either side of the insulation when determining insulating value. The additional air space is not pert of their product and any other type of insulation would get increased R-value if additional airspace was included.

Reflectix does provide a radiant barrier but that is not included when determining insulating value (r-value). That radiant barrier also has some side effects like increased radar signature on the highway and it blocks cell phone/tv/radio reception inside the camper.

Andy
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:43 AM   #5
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Wow, that limitation of telephone reception would be a deal killer for me. With laptops now using the "air cards" they would also be restricted and I assume it would carry forward to wifi reception as well.

Even if you are not worried about reception today in five years there maybe some technology you can't even think about now that will need clear reception.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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What's the R-value of fake ostrich leather?
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Paul Braun View Post
Wow, that limitation of telephone reception would be a deal killer for me. With laptops now using the "air cards" they would also be restricted and I assume it would carry forward to wifi reception as well.

Even if you are not worried about reception today in five years there maybe some technology you can't even think about now that will need clear reception.
No need to worry. I and many other use laptop aircards and phone wifi without any problem at all in a Scamp. There are enough windows and other openings to allow for a clear reception.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
What's the R-value of fake ostrich leather?
I tried to look it up, but Google pointed me back to this thread!

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