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A hypothesis is advanced to explain the splitting failure of bituminous built-up roofing membranes applied to roof insulation which is inadequately attached to the structural deck. A mathematical model is used to explore the relative splitting potential of membranes composed of organic and asbestos felts, and of coal tar pitch and asphalt bitumens, applied over five common types of roof insulation. The analyses show that splitting is probable in roofing systems composed of weak membranes over insulations with a high modulus of elasticity, and membranes applied to insulation above a critical thickness.
roofing, splitting, felt, insulation, composite materials, temperature
Associate, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Consulting Engineers, Cambridge, Mass.