Commercial insulation definition: A previous FAQ states: “Commercial insulation is anything sold / bought that has heat retention as one of the intended properties”. To clarify further, the fundamental principle is that competitors need to use 'raw materials' to create their devices, not depend on the work some professional engineer put into designing something to insulate. Items that would be considered ‘commercial insulation’ aren’t always necessarily labeled as such, since there are a lot of products engineered to be significantly better insulators than a normal person would be able to trivially create using the same raw materials. Likewise, just because someone has measured the ‘R Value’ of something and published it, doesn’t mean it’s inherently commercial insulation. As with many things in Science Olympiad, there is a certain amount of subjectiveness that will fall upon the event supervisor in determining whether or not something is commercial insulation and it is impossible for us to list all possibilities. One key factor supervisors will use in determining this is how much effort the competitor put into modifying the 'raw material' to make the device. When in doubt, competitors should always err on the side of caution and select basic raw materials such as some of those listed below.
Some examples of materials that AREN’T considered commercial insulation: • Uncoated glass sheets • Cotton balls • Wine bottle corks • Raw wool • Fiberglass sheets (e.g. the thin paper like material used to repair car body panels) • Aluminum foil
Some examples of materials that ARE considered commercial insulation: • Silverized glass sheets • Cotton batting • Cork paneling • A wool sweater • Glass wool (e.g. fiberglass insulation, the pink fluffy stuff)