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Much work has been presented in an effort to document the thermal performance of insulating materials in severe moisture environments, such as highway roadbeds and upside-down roofs. Relatively little has been done, however, to evaluate the thermal performance of insulations installed below-grade on the perimeters of buildings.
To better understand the effect of the potentially moist perimeter environment on insulating materials, field studies were carried out in which several materials were installed below the earth grade on portions of the perimeters of two commercial buildings. The structures were located in Granville, Ohio, and Sarnia, Ontario. The thermal insulations evaluated were polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, molded bead polystyrene, and extruded polystyrene rigid foams.
Water absorption and thermal transmission data were collected for specimens recovered following earth exposures of approximately 6 and 18 months. Measured thermal transmission data were compared with values calculated from mathematical equations introduced in previously published work. Analysis of measured data indicated that the thermal transmission of several insulations increased significantly as a result of exposure to the perimeter environment.
below-grade insulation, cellular plastic, heat transmission, insulation, moisture content, thermal insulation, thermal measurements, thermal conductivity
Associate Research Scientist, Industrial Materials Section, Department of Materials Chemistry, Ontario Research Foundation, Mississauga, Ontario
Director, Thermophysics Laboratory, Dynatech R/D Company, Cambridge, Mass.
Research Engineer, Dow Chemical USA, Granville, Ohio
Senior Research Engineer, Dow Chemical of Canada, Ltd., Sarnia, Ontario