Recent advances in thermal protection used in the aerospace, oil and gas industries include the development of polymers, aerogels and fibrous based composite systems. These new materials are thinner, lighter and stronger, and provide a thermal performance several times better than conventional insulation materials.
As part of EU No. 305/2011 (regulation for construction products), the EU has introduced material performance regulations to ensure that materials can be robustly tested against well-defined criteria and to ensure that performance matches specifications, but current testing capabilities are unable to meet these requirements. There is a need for better measurement techniques for thermal protection materials that conform to the EU standards, so ensuring safety and quality across manufacturers, thus saving lives, saving energy and reducing costs.
This project established a framework for thermal conductivity measurements of thermal protection materials up to 650 °C, to support the implementation of the EU regulations for construction products. The improved measurement technique enables designers of fire engineering for buildings (Structural Eurocodes EN 1990 to EN 1999) and transportation safety systems, such as engine housing of aircrafts, to select the best performing thermal protection materials. The application of the best multifunctional thermal protection materials is able to both reduce energy consumption during normal use, and to protect structural integrity during a fire situation. Therefore, it will ensure that the load-bearing capacity of structures will be maintained for a long enough time to allow the evacuation of people.