STP660

    Laboratory and Field Investigations of Moisture Absorption and Its Effect on Thermal Performance of Various Insulations

    Published: Jan 1978


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    Abstract

    Much work has been done in Europe, Canada, and the United States with respect to the effect of moisture on the thermal efficiency of various insulations. However, very little research has been done to orient the laboratory test methods to the actual field conditions in which the various insulations will be used.

    This paper reports on the moisture performance characteristics of various thermal insulations under laboratory conditions and under actual field conditions. The various moisture effects, such as freeze-thaw cycling in the presence of water, water absorption, and water vapor transmission, which occur in insulations in upside-down roof systems and below-grade applications, reduced the thermal efficiency of all insulations tested. This loss of thermal resistance of the common insulating materials using both laboratory methods and field data is related to the volume of water present in the insulations. The minimum performance criteria for insulations exposed to the various laboratory test methods and to actual field conditions are also discussed. The insulations investigated include fiber glass, fiberboard, expanded (bead) polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, polyurethanes, and cellular glass. The effect of various top coverings for upside-down roof applications on the thermal resistance performance of insulations is also discussed.

    Keywords:

    below-grade insulation, cellular plastic, heat transmission, highway insulation, insulation, moisture content, thermal insulation, thermal measurements, thermal conductivity, upside-down roof


    Author Information:

    Dechow, FJ
    Senior research chemist and research specialist, The Dow Chemical Company, Ohio

    Epstein, KA
    Senior research chemist and research specialist, The Dow Chemical Company, Ohio


    Paper ID: STP35747S

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.30

    DOI: 10.1520/STP35747S


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