Demand for energy efficient buildings has increased drastically in recent years and this trend will continue in the future. Insulating building elements will play a key role in meeting this demand by reducing heat losses through the building fabric. Due to their higher thermal resistance, Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) would be a more energy efficient alternative to conventional building insulation materials. Thus, efforts to develop VIPs with characteristics suitable for applications to new and existing buildings are underway. This paper provides a review of important contemporary developments towards producing VIPs using various materials such as glass fibre, foams, perlite and fibre/powder composites. The limitations of the materials currently used to fabricate VIPs have not been emphasised in detail in previous review papers published. Selection criteria, methods to measure important properties of VIPs and analytical and numerical models presented in the past have been detailed. Limitations of currently employed design tools along with potential future materials such as Nano/microcellular foams and SiOx/SiNx coatings for use in VIPs are also described. � 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
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