Cellular Load Responsive Multi-Layer Insulation (CLR) could provide a high performance thermal insulation by forming a light-weight vacuum cell layer integrated with load bearing LRMLI insulation layers. Preliminary thermal and structural modeling indicates this system could be a robust SOFI replacement that would offer a strong structural element and provide good thermal performance both in-air during ground and ascent phase operation, and in-space. This thermal insulation system could benefit NASA for both LH2 storage for long duration nuclear thermal propelled vehicles for deep space exploration, as well as cryogenic propellant storage for conventional LH2/LOX chemical propulsion systems. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" and "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion components and systems" the #2 and #7 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions. CLR MLI could provide 92% lower heat flux than current SOFI insulation for in-air use and 97% lower heat flux in-space. CLR might be a preferred thermal insulation for future NASA mission use, with a combination of high thermal performance, good structural strength, operable in both in-air and in-space environments, and it can be engineered for specific mission requirements.
Several aerospace prime contractors have interest in Quest/Ball IMLI and related insulation systems. CLRMLI could significantly improve launch vehicle insulation, reducing cryopropellant boiloff losses and increasing mission capabilities. High performance CLRMLI system can replace SOFI in cryogenic upper stages such as ACES, iCPS and SLS. Advances in thermal insulation developed for space cryogenics thermal control have relevance to terrestrial industrial applications. Reducing thermal conductivity and heat leak could have significant impact on Earth-based heating and cooling industrial processes and needs, for green energy and high energy efficiency. IMLI and derivatives might be able to provide improved thermal insulation for storage and preservation of cryogens for a variety of industrial uses, such as insulation for dewars for commercial, medical, industrial and research uses. Large LNG tanks could benefit from improved thermal insulation. CLRMLI might prove beneficial for liquid hydrogen storage for hydrogen fueled aircraft and ground vehicles. Quest's IMLI may play a beneficial role in reducing energy use. LRMLI has 24X lower heat leak than foam for use in refrigerator/freezers. LRMLI has 100X lower thermal conductivity than silica, and may keep molten salt batteries hot for electric vehicle use. Wrapped MLI has 12X lower heat leak than MLI, and may enable high performance vacuum jacketed pipe insulation for industrial cold transfer piping.