Compact Vacuum Insulation

Improved compact insulation panel is provided which is comprised of two adjacent metal sheets spaced close together with a plurality of spherical, or other discretely shaped, glass or ceramic beads optimally positioned between the sheets to provide support and maintain the spacing between the metal sheets when the gases therebetween are evacuated to form a vacuum. These spherical glass beads provide the maximum support while minimizing thermal conductance. In its preferred embodiment; these two metal sheets are textured with ribs or concave protrusions in conjunction with the glass beads to maximize the structural integrity of the panels while increasing the spacing between beads, thereby reducing the number of beads and the number of thermal conduction paths. Glass or porcelain-enameled liners in combination with the glass spacers and metal sidewalls effectively decrease thermal conductivity, and variious laminates, including wood, porcelain-enameled metal, and others effectively increase the strength and insulation capabilities of the panels. Also, a metal web is provided to hold the spacers in place, and strategic grooves are shown to accommodate expansion and contraction or shaping of the panels. U.S. Patent 5,157,893

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