Success in the development of thermal insulation materials that can be used outdoors for a long time

The development of a thermal insulation material that can reduce deterioration due to ultraviolet light was desired

In the early 1960s, Furukawa Electric developed Foam Ace, a chemical cross-linked polyethylene foam sheet more heat resistant, deterioration resistant and chemical resistant than urethane or styrene. This product, which has a closed cell structure expanded at high magnification by cross–link treatment of polyethylene resin, is characterized by excellent thermal insulation properties and condensation prevention effects. It has been used in a wide range of applications such as the thermal insulation material attached to the back of metal roofs, air-conditioning pipe covers, sports goods, miscellaneous goods, construction, civil engineering, household electrical appliances and automobiles.

However, because this was basically a product for use indoors, if Foam Ace was used on something like an outdoor structure, there was a danger that the progress of deterioration would speed up due to ultraviolet light, wind and rain. For example, even in places where it was not hit directly by sunlight, ultraviolet light is reflected outdoors by things such as the ground surface and structures. Because of that, the development of a thermal insulation material that can reduce deterioration due to ultraviolet light was desired by customers who used the product regularly.

Having received such requests, Furukawa Electric promoted improvements to solve this problem. And, we newly developed Kirara Ace. We started sales on a full-scale basis from April 2015 as a high function thermal insulation material for use on metal roofs.


Strengthening of ultraviolet light resistance properties by at least 4 times by covering the surface with a lightweight aluminum foil

Kirara Ace decreases deterioration due to ultraviolet light significantly by covering the surface of Foam Ace with a lightweight aluminum foil that reflects ultraviolet light. We succeeded in the realization of ultraviolet light resistance at least 4 times better than conventional products. In an accelerated weathering test (SWOM: sunshine weatherometer test) in which cracks are generated in general thermal insulation materials in 720 hours, Kirara Ace showed no changes even after 3,000 hours had elapsed. This is a weather resistance level that allows the product to be used outdoors for about 10 years.

In addition, Kirara Ace also has excellent thermal barrier performance due to its high light reflectivity, and in a thermal barrier property test using containers, in comparison to conventional products, it was possible to suppress the rise in internal temperature to about 10 degrees less in summer and the decrease in internal temperature to about 5 degrees less in winter. Moreover, it also has an excellent light brightening effect and sound insulation property so it is possible to increase comfort within the building. Like conventional products, attachment to metal plates and molding can be carried out simply. In addition, because it can be used for longer periods than conventional products, it is also suitable for use in places like factory warehouses, train stations, car parks and bike parks.

A supervisor at Furukawa Electric talked as follows about the strenuous efforts that were made during the development of the Kirara Ace high function thermal insulation material and its future deployment.
“In a situation where competing manufacturers were already selling products using weather resistant film, the company promoted the development of a product using an aluminum film with superior weather resistance to them. Because customer companies manufacturing metal roofs were requesting a product that enabled processing with their own equipment, it was necessary that it could be processed like conventional thermal insulation materials. However, aluminum foil is damaged easily during processing and it is a material in which damage and wrinkles occur easily on the surface. Damage would lead to causes of deterioration in the foam and wrinkles to the loss of good appearance of the product. We repeated actual equipment tests using the equipment possessed by customers nationwide in order to solve these problems and decided to choose poly-cross processed aluminum foil. We will aim in future for adoption of the product for the metal roofs of carports and outdoor eaves, corridors and stairways, which have issues of ultraviolet light deterioration, and will advance design insertion activities.”