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Old 30-09-2014, 18:06   #1
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Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

I've found a source for cheap vacuum insulated panels, courtesy of military surplus, and would like to use them to add an extra layer of insulation to my waeco portable fridge. I'd like some feedback to see if my idea makes any sense.

First, the panels: If you go on ebay, there are a number of vendors selling containers made by golden hour that the military used to carry blood on the battlefield. Each container uses 6 separate VIP panels, each about 9"x9"x1". Taking this apart will give you a total of a little over 3 sqft of R40 VIPs at a cost of around $25 (or probably less in quantity).

Second, how to use them efficiently: Since these panels can't be cut, I'm thinking that I'd glue them on the outside of the cooler, covering as much of the surface area as possible, then filling in the gaps with regular foam insulation. I'd then seal all the seams between the panels, and cover the whole thing with a layer of reflectix or something similar. Obviously, I wouldn't cover the vents or the side of the cooler where the compressor resides.

Any ideas on whether this would work reasonably efficiently, and how much it would reduce the fridge's electric power consumption?
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Old 30-09-2014, 18:36   #2
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

Your plan sounds ok, let me know if you have extras


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Old 30-09-2014, 19:13   #3
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

Interesting, I imagine these were quite expensive to the military!
I would have some concern they are constructed to have a limited lifetime,
so the cost and hassle to try to use them for a permanent boat install
would not pay off. Why not just use them as-is? Looks like would fit beer cans pretty well.
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Old 16-07-2015, 13:18   #4
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

I looked into the Golden Hour panels and they not VIP,... but instead storage units that need to be "pre-cooled" as phase change control devices.... so if you use them as refrigeration panels they will, over time, collect and build thermal energy (hot or cold) as the case may, be so you will turn your refrigerator into a heater. Not a good idea to use them for refrigeration insulation.
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:29   #5
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

Quote:
Originally Posted by snbrooker View Post
I looked into the Golden Hour panels and they not VIP,... but instead storage units that need to be "pre-cooled" as phase change control devices.... so if you use them as refrigeration panels they will, over time, collect and build thermal energy (hot or cold) as the case may, be so you will turn your refrigerator into a heater. Not a good idea to use them for refrigeration insulation.


Mmmm.... Maybe not for insulation as such.

Phase change materials, if this is what they actually are, have interesting properties. For example, the composition can be manipulated to allow you to choose the temperature at which the material undergoes the phase change. Additionally, this phase change allows a larger energy transfer than normal materials allow.

For example, these panels could function similar to cold plates - absorbing excess energy for a later pre-determined time.

At such a cheap price, might be fun to play around with. Might be several uses on board that would be worthwhile.
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:44   #6
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

If you were to use them inside the refrigerator after you prep them i the freezer they could act as simple holding plates and would therefore assist in maintaining temperatures and likely reduce cycling. Not sure the output would be worth the input. Anyway, as you say an interesting technology.
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Old 16-07-2015, 21:56   #7
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Re: Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently

We use these:

http://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Ice-Ala...N421Q32TK2GTAB

in an insulated bag for veggies,

and these:

http://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Ice-Tun...NNK3VVSAYM7EZK

for a freezer bag.
My wife made an insulated cooler almost identical to the military surplus one posted above, but with Aerogel insulation all around.
We freeze the Arctic Tundra block to keep lots of frozen food when we are out on vacation in Desolation Sound, far away from grocery stores.
Our freezer compartment holds one of the extra large blocks, and we swap it out with the bag once a day.
The fridge works harder, but we've got the solar to handle it, and we can have ice cream whenever we want.
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