Hello, I have heard that commercial radiant barrier sprays (used primarily in residential applications to reduce the sun’s radiant heat in the attic) were originally developed by the U.S. military to protect military vehicles from heat-seeking missiles. Is this accurate? Plausible?
The low emissivity spray coatings were originally developed by the Solar Energy Corporation in 1978 for use on glass, evacuated tube solar collectors. They were used to overcoat the glass substrate to make it opaque and reflective to infrared before it was coated with a selective absorber surface. They have been used in several military applications, most of which relate to lessening the heat signature of various military equipment. Their largest use in military applications will probably be in lowering energy usage in military structures including tents and field covers, much like the application for homeowners when the coatings are applied on the underside of the roof. These coatings were not developed by the military, but are presently being tested for use in military applications. They are also used in space applications for insulating rocket capsule structures and rocket parts exposed to engine heat.