An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture,
Although more related to evolutionary aspects than architecture itself, the inherent physical fragility of humans required,
Since prehistoric times, we have wanted to protect our bodies and buildings from the outside elements.
For example, starting with the primitive huts used in the earliest forms of domestic architecture, fur was used as an outer covering to restrict airflow, thus regulating the internal environment.
Subsequently, we have observed a development that clearly shows the progress in insulation techniques, from vernacular materials such as adobe to increasing the thickness of walls using stone or brick,
Finally arriving to hollow walls developed in the 19th century, which left a small air chamber between the outer and inner face of the wall.
Its spread later led to the introduction of interfacial insulation, a system that is widely recognized and used today and has laid the foundations for further developments in this field.
It is essential to understand that the elements that make up buildings – such as roofs and walls – form a complex system in which each material plays a crucial role.
Rather than being a simple juxtaposition of materials, they interact through their specific qualities.
Furthermore, in the current context of architecture, the focus on sustainability considers the technical qualities of materials, their ecological footprint and their environmental benefits to be of equal importance.
This has prompted the development of innovative proposals that seek to offer alternatives to traditional systems by integrating methods based on regeneration, recycling, technology and high performance.
An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

Developing sustainable, high-performance insulators

Over time, we have developed many synthetic materials for different purposes, however some of them are harmful to our health or degrade slowly, leading to neglecting their use.
This has led to a return to more basic materials, such as organic compounds, textile fibres, cellulose fibres, and others.
In the future, we are likely to see similar applications that address environmental challenges resulting from industrial processes.
An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

Sheep wool

This insulating material begins by grading its components based on thickness, color and properties, then mixing them and passing them through a washing process until only raw fibers are obtained.
No binders or adhesives are used; Instead, they are woven and woven, making them completely natural and breathable.
An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

Linen

Its production process is similar to that of animal fiber, but in this case it is obtained from a cultivated plant source, which prevents the release of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde.
Moreover, it can be replanted annually, and through the process of photosynthesis, it converts the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Cellulose

While its primary source is wood, it is an insulating material derived from paper, a material that is produced in abundance, making it easy to recycle and blend with other materials.
Its properties include its resistance to mold, durability, and its ability to resist fire.
An overview of the development of insulating materials in architecture

Combining technology and chemistry

The potential of synthetic materials as insulators does not focus primarily on their strength, weight, or visible porosity, but on their physical and chemical properties, which are often imperceptible to the human eye.
The manufacturing process is determined in laboratories or workshops.
It is important to understand that although invisible, these properties are the essence of what makes these materials so valuable in architecture.
In the future, thanks to technology, these and other materials could become popular thanks to their low density and high insulating capacity.

Airgels

Created using the sol-gel process, they have already found diverse applications in various fields.
Its main advantage lies in its extremely low weight, which is primarily due to the presence of a large number of microscopic pores filled with air.