Insulated containers used in biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical applications have larger internal volume and retain their thermal performance far longer when VIPs are used rather than traditional insulation materials. VIPs make cold chain shipping boxes an economical overland transportation option and ideal solution for prolonged transit times, access to remote regions, or high-temperature environments. The thinner, lighter VIP walls maximize interior volume and minimize bulk, resulting in lower distribution expenses and more economical transportation costs.
One of the fastest-growing areas for VIPs in thermal packaging is in cold chain air cargo, where both active (rechargeable battery-powered) and passive cold containers rely on VIPs to preserve temperature-sensitive products over a range of extreme ambient conditions.
VIPs deliver an ecologically friendly container solution, since they are reusable, recyclable and nontoxic. They have a lower landfill footprint than standard, bulky, non-degradable insulation. The use of VIPs for higher fuel efficient transportation also contributes to an overall improved ecological footprint.
The core material and the barrier laminate used for the envelope affect the efficiency of the VIP — and the container.
The most effective thermal packaging containers use nanoporous silica VIP cores protected by exceptionally high barrier metallized laminates. These films nullify the damaging effects of moisture vapor, oxygen and nitrogen, and preserve the vacuum and the efficacy of the insulation. Though initially more expensive to manufacture, shipping containers using fumed silica and metallized laminates deliver exceptional long-term functionality. What counts when it comes to the actual insulating performance of VIPs is not the center of panel thermal conductivity (λcop) but rather the effective thermal conductivity (λeff), which includes the thermal bridge effect.
Aluminum foil laminates foster an edge effect that can substantially decrease insulation performance due to the increased thermal bridge. This is particularly true for low-dimension panels used in smaller boxes, where the relative effect of heat transfer via the edges is more pronounced.