F²TE³: a Transparent Semi-Monocoque VIP Envelope
This article examines a new lightweight, slim, high energy efficient, light-transmitting, self-supporting envelope system, providing for seamless, free-form designs for use in architectural projects. The system exploits vacuum insulation panel technology. The research was based on envelope components already existing on the market and patents and prototypes built by independent laboratories, especially components implemented with silica gel insulation, as this is the most effective transparent thermal insulation there is today. The tests run on these materials revealed that there is not one that has all the features required of the new envelope model, although some do have properties that could be exploited to generate this envelope, namely, the vacuum chamber of vacuum insulation panels, the use of monolithic aerogel as insulation in some prototypes, and reinforced polyester barriers. These three design components have been combined and tested to design a new, variable geometry, energy-saving envelope system that also solves many of the problems that other studies ascribe to the use of vacuum insulation panels.
Dongye Sun, Wen-Pei Sung and Ran Chen
L. Alonso et al., "F²TE³: a Transparent Semi-Monocoque VIP Envelope", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 71-78, pp. 594-597, 2011