Extremely efficient thermal insulation, easily assembled and applied to cover various surfaces, including pipes and tubing, have utility in commercial cryogenic applications such as cryogenic vessels and lines in scientific and industrial applications. Insulated cryogenic tubing is used for transfers of cryogenic liquid into and from cryogenic dewars for liquid nitrogen, liquid helium, liquid oxygen, etc., which are widely used in research, medical and industrial applications. There are several major industrial uses for cryogenic lines and handling equipment. Cryogenic pipes, lines and tubing uses include liquid nitrogen (LN2), liquid oxygen and liquid natural gas (LNG) handling products such as piping, automatic filling equipment, dewar manifolds and gas panels. LN2 equipment is used for industrial or food applications including semiconductor, electronics and aerospace environmental temperature testing, special effects (fogging), biological freezing applications, inerting of food and beverage containers, container pressurization and food freezing. Liquid Nitrogen finds numerous uses for food and beverage preservations ("inerting") such as full container inerting, headspace inerting, and pressurization of food products, cans and PET bottles. High performance insulated cryogenic transfer piping is critical to the LNG industry, where heat gain into pipes causes LNG losses from vaporization during liquid transfer.
Improved passive thermal insulation for cryogenic propellant lines is a critical need for the NASA Exploration vehicles, where the heat leak into cryo-feed lines is estimated to be 10 to 20% of the overall system heat leak. Wrapped-IMLI, with a predicted heat leak 4X less than conventional MLI, would be an improved feed line insulation. Lower heat leak, easier assembly, and ability to install, remove for inspection, and reinstall are all desirable features for cryogenic feed line insulation. IMLI and Wrapped-IMLI may offer excellent properties required for spacecraft use with low thermal conductance, inherent control of layer dimensions and heat leak.