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Old 11-27-2008, 11:12 AM   #1
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Insulating Paint Additive


Anyone have any experience of Thermilate Additive? Claims of 25% savings on heating bills seems hard to believe. But it was developed by NASA Technology...Any advice?

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Old 11-27-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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Ryan:

Apparantly, this paint is like so many other products, it has a very tiny effect, but the manufacturers and distributors of the product blow that effect wildly out of proportion to reality, and use some underhanded methods to promote the stuff to make it look better than it is.

For example, InsulAdd, the company that makes and distributes Thermilate powder, also makes a roof coating for reflecting solar energy off a roof and thereby lowering the energy requirements to cool the building in summer. This product works as well as any other reflective roof paint, and InsulAdd was allowed to use the EPA's Energy Star logo for promoting and selling their roof paint.

So, InsulAdd took that Energy Star logo and slapped it on their Thermilate website, suggesting the EPA endorses it too, despite repeated requests by the EPA to remove the Energy Star logo from their Thermilate web page. They do that to fool people into believing that the government has tested the product and confirmed that it lives up to it's claim of saving energy.

And you can read it for yourself here:
http://www.reviewcentre.com/review374635.html
in the above web page, I think IRRC stands for Infra Red Reflective Coating and RIMA is the Reflective Insulation Manufacturer's Association.

Also, if a paint could reduce heating costs by 25 percent, then EVERY paint manufacturer would be selling the stuff, and your American and my Canadian governments, and/or our local electric and gas utilities would have done their own testing and would be offering tax rebates or incentive programs to people to encourage them to have their houses professionally painted with the stuff.

That doesn't seem to be happening.


Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 11-27-2008 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:53 AM   #3
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If you believe for even a second that there is something you can add to paint and get 25% savings on your energy bills, I have a bridge I want to sell ya.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:59 AM   #4
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It's easy to believe something you want to believe, regardless of how implausible it seems.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:16 PM   #5
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After discussing and consulting with many coatings professionals, including applicators, manufacturers, "lab boys", and testing facilties, we've pretty much come to the conclusion it's pretty much bunk

There may be an 'aura of truthiness' about it, as 'technically' there might, in the best of circumstances, be some teeny tiny bit of help the additive might provide, but it can't (realistically under any circumstances) be enough even to be assigned an "R" value (even a small one)
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:53 AM   #6
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The "sealing" characteristics of the paint may block air penetration.....but in reality, nope.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:06 PM   #7
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No, it's not just by sealing drafts.

From what little I learned reading about this Thermilate powder, it consists of tiny hollow ceramic spheres. This web site claims the spheres aren't just hollow, it claims the void inside them is a vaccuum:

http://www.thermilate.com/aboutprodu..._it_work.shtml

The company claims that these miniature vaccuum bottles inside the paint prevent heat conduction through the paint. And they claim these microspheres reflect radiant heat, thereby keeping heat in during the winter, and if you paint the exterior of your house and roof, keeping heat out in summer.

It should be noted that solid or hollow ceramic micropheres are added to certain paints to make them more scrub resistant, stain resistant and improve hiding. C2 uses microspheres in some of their paints and my understanding is that Benjamin Moore's Aura paint uses ceramic microspheres. But, the advantages of adding these microspheres is to make the paint more resistant to scrubbing, more resistant to staining and to provide better hide. They're not added to save energy.
http://www.paintquality.com/feature/index.html

The following article says that ceramic microspheres may also come with various metal coatings. Those metal coatings like aluminum and nickel would allow the spheres to reflect radiant heat.
http://www.pcimag.com/Articles/Mater...00000000297115

However, that manufacturer's web site says nothing about there being a vaccuum inside the spheres:
http://www.accumetmaterials.com/new/microspheres.htm
It should be noted that the 5 to 30 micron range is exactly the range used for extender pigments in paint. A micron is one millionth of a meter, or 1/1000 of a millimeter. A human hair is about 100 microns in diameter. The smallest thing visible with the naked eye (for a person with 20/20 vision) would be about 20 microns in diameter. A red blood cell is about 5 microns in diameter. Typically, the smallest pigment used in paint is the black pigment, and it's about 0.01 microns in diameter. The largest pigments are the inorganic pigments, which typically are 0.5 to 3 or 4 microns in diameter.

Apparantly, the 3M company also makes a similar product out of glass:
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...Vs6EVs6E666666--
But, nowhere do they say that the void inside their glass bubbles is a vaccuum.

3M also makes solid and hollow ceramic microspheres:

http://www3.3m.com/catalog/us/en001/...er/output_html

http://www3.3m.com/catalog/us/en001/...er/output_html

But, nowhere does 3M claim that their hollow ceramic or glass microspheres contain a vaccuum.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the part about the microspheres containing a vaccuum is bogus, and that's probably much or the underlying reason why Thermilate doesn't work as well as advertised.

The Thermilate web page claims that heat can not travel by conduction through a vaccuum. That's true, but there are three ways heat can travel, conduction, convection and by radiation, and heat travels by radiation through a vaccuum quite well. Otherwise we couldn't feel the heat of the Sun on our face on a warm summer's day because of the 93 million miles of near vaccum between the Earth and the Sun.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 11-29-2008 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:09 AM   #8
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Nestor_Kelebay:

Thank you for your detailed explanation. But Thermilate have stated the microspheres they use is developed by their engineers in conjuction with NASA Space Programme, and they are the sole distrubutor of this type of ceramic powder. Which would mean other type of ceramic paint coating is different. I have also come across their website with all the test datas:

http://www.thermilate.com/independent_testing.shtml

Let me know what you think.

Last edited by Ryan_Hudson; 12-02-2008 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:44 AM   #9
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Just some thoughts on those tests. Looks like they conducted those in 1999 and 2000. This miracle product has been out for 8+ years and isn't on every house in America? Why aren't we painting 4 or more coats of this stuff on?

I just find it extremely hard to believe that a 1/16" coat of this stuff will give you the same energy savings that 6" of spray foam insulation will.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan_Hudson View Post
But Thermilate have stated the microspheres they use is developed by their engineers in conjuction with NASA Space Programme, and they are the sole distrubutor of this type of ceramic powder.
They tell you that so that you don't buy the same stuff from their supplier, and cut them out of the picture. I once had an Amway salesman tell me that Amway made everything they sold, and I had to grit my teeth to avoid disrespectfully laughing in his face at that remark. He doesn't want to tell me that Sylvannia simply prints the "Amway" name on Sylvannia bulbs, cuz then I'd just buy Sylvannia bulbs, 6 for $2, instead of Amway bulbs at $12 each.

You need to know how this "independant testing" works.

If I have a widget that increases your gas mileage by 0.01 percent, and I want to sell it, I send the widget to a dozen different independant testing labs and pay them all to test the widget to determine how much it increases gas mileage. Out of the dozen lab results I get back, the results are bound to differ just due to statistical variations. I just pick the test report that sounds the sweetest to my ears, and claim that result in my advertising.

And, of course, the same thing is true from the lab's perspective. When the lab gets the widget, they don't just test it once. They do various tests on it over several gas fills, noting the gas consumption and mileage over several weeks. When they analyze the results, they won't be all identical. Occasionally, there will be an "anomoly" that simply doesn't fit well with the other results. Perhaps that result was from a long drive done between cities where the car would be expected to get better gas mileage with or without the widget. Small labs aren't dumb. They know how this system works. If they conclude that the 35 percent increase in fuel economy they observed in test point #7 was "an anomoly", and that the widget doesn't work, that's not gonna sound sweet to the client's ears, and he's not going to use their laboratory testing services again. So, instead, they report the results of ONE test where the fuel economy was seen to increase by 35 percent with the widget installed, and say nothing about the other 9 test results that didn't show any improvement in fuel economy. That sounds sweeter to the client's ears, and the testing company is confident that they haven't given the client a reason not to use their testing services again. And, that's not actually lying; the lab did actually record that result. But it is concluding that the anomoly is correct and the concensus of opinion of the other test results are all wrong.

There's a company called "EdinPure" that markets an electric heater that claims it to be 33 percent more efficient than other electric heaters. The company points to the report of an independant testing lab. That company tested the heater in 7 houses and concluded that the one house where a 33 percent reduction in the monthly electrical bill was an accurate measure of the heater's performance, mentioned that one house had a 12 percent reduction in heating costs and didn't even report the results obtained from the other 5 houses.

You get a client that sends out widgets to a dozen different small independant testing labs, and you're likely to find that widget works miracles in at least one or two of the reports you get back. And, it's cuz small independant testing labs are often a one man operation. The owner wants to give the client what he wants, and is willing to misconstrue the test data to obtain that result.

That's what I can't help thinking when I see that this lab study:
http://www.thermilate.com/pdfs/itdpd...Geoscience.pdf
was done by H. F. Poppendiek, and this web page:
http://www.geoscienceltd.com/
tells me that Heinz F. Poppendiek is the president of the testing company. That tells me that it's very small company where the president does the testing and report writing, and can't help but know that future business with Thermilate will be determined by how glowing a report he writes on their product.

But, I would like to comment on this report:

http://www.thermilate.com/pdfs/itdpd...ry_testing.pdf

The Thermilate simply made the paint more opaque. You see exactly the same phenomenon in that flat paints hide better than gloss paints. The reason why is that they add clear or white extender pigments to flat paints to make the paint dry to a flat finish. The addition of these clear or white pigments, besides making the paint dry rougher, also produces plastic/pigment interfaces within the paint film that reflect and refract light. The more reflection and refraction you produce within the paint film, the less incident light will be able to pass through the paint film, reflect off the different coloured substrate and pass back out of the paint film to your eye. The less incident light that's able to complete that tortuous journey, the less of the colour of the substrate you'll see, and the better the "hide" of the paint will be.

I attribute all of the effect of the Thermilate in this test to the opacifying effect of the Thermilate microspheres in making the paint more opaque to both visible and infrared light (which is heat).

The most opaque material known to man are metals. You can stop more light with aluminum foil than you can with any other material of equal thickness. That report fails to mention that they could have surpassed the test results simply by gluing aluminum foil to the tops of the cabs to both stop and reflect light from the light bank. That may be impractical for a missle launcher that supposed to be camoflaged, but they could have achieved similar results to aluminum foil by just installing a metal cover over the cab to shade it from the Sun (or in this case, shade it from the light bank).

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 12-03-2008 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:01 PM   #11
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Surely there's gotta be a way to keep numbskulls like that outta here.

I need a fake Rolex like I need another credit card.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:51 PM   #12
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Ryan,
I just put Thermilate on a very cold outer wall in our hallway/stairwell. I tried it because it is cheap and my only option. After the first coat I noticed a difference and after two coats I can happily say that the wall does not get nearly as cold and the hallway is noticeably warmer.

You only need to paint it onto outer walls so it really isn't expensive. I did 2 coats in our hallway (very big wall going up staircase) and two walls in the kitchen with 5 liters of paint (that's one pack of additive).

If you can install cavity wall insulation this will get a better and measurable result, but if you have a house like mine (old walls with no cavity, lovely brick exterior and every inch of the interior priceless) then this paint is a reasonable option. I was very surprised at how much warmer the walls are. This is, of course, a subjective measure. I doubt you could assign an R value or say you could save 25%.

But my house is warmer and more comfortable so whether or not I recoup the 16 I paid for the stuff on my heating bills doesn't really matter.

The other comentators seem to have a bee in their bonnets about this type of product. They don't appear to have tried it, but certainly have spent a lot of time reading about it and trashing it.
They are very convincing. When I read through their posts I start believing them. Then I reminded myself that my walls are warmer and my house stays warmer longer.

Last edited by bjp100; 01-11-2010 at 06:53 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:42 PM   #13
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And his isn't the only testimony from a customer who isn't getting a kickback from the manufacturer or dealer that the microspheres give a definite improvement.

When considering the reasonable cost, I too wonder why so much energy is expended by those who have never used the product. Their disdain would be far more credible if they said, "I used it... ."

My whole reason for joining this forum was to ask for the experience of those who have used the product.

So far, there's one person who has used it that thinks it's beneficial and numerous folks who haven't used it but criticize it. Is it not obvious that something is wrong with this picture?
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:36 PM   #14
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If you want true results them you need to have a measured average temperature and measured sun exposure before and after the paint. You are welcome to believe what you want, but if a 1/16" layer of paint makes a difference then I am ripping out my insulation filling all my wall cavities with it.
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:59 PM   #15
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I think you're failing to understand the nature of the benefit. There have been misrepresentations of what microspheres can do. You know how dishonest some people can be who will benefit by their deceit.

From the research that I've done, their insulating quality is small, but the major benefit is primarily that of reflecting heat. The mentioning of 'R' values was a misrepresentation. Microspheres aren't a substitute for insulation and their real insulating quality is pretty low. Aluminum foil insulates poorly, but does provide the semblance of it by reflecting heat. The combination of factors in microspheres clearly do have tangible benefits, which anyone can tell if they'll do adequate research.

3M is one of the manufacturers of microspheres and they have many uses. In fact, from what I can tell, in large volume, they are one of the very best insulators, but I haven't seen that converted into actual products.

Unfortunately, the deceit and misrepresentations muddy the waters. I know some manufacturers represent them as hollow, yet I've seen some claim they have a vacuum in them. I've not yet seen that verified.

There is quite a bit of information available if you care to spend the time looking for it.

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