Review.6 – Measurements of Thermal Properties of Insulation Materials by using Transient Plane Source Technique

Sep 11, 2015 | Blog |

Applied Thermal Engineering 26,17-18 (2006) 2184-2191

Authors: Saleh A. Al-Ajlan

The choice of insulation material when designing a building is strongly influenced by the environment and climate in which the building will be constructed.  Before the invention of air conditioning and climate control, architects and builders needed to be creative with the use of insulation materials in order to help keep the buildings cool in warmer climates.

Article Summary: Thermal properties testing was performed on some common insulation materials used in housing construction and development in Saudi Arabia. Thermal conductivity is seen as the most important factor to locals during construction because it directly affects the thermal resistance of heat (R-value) that the insulation material offers. Thermal diffusivity, heat capacity, and density were also tested using the transient plane source (TPS) method. Room temperature and elevated temperatures were measured to represent the practice of insulation materials in real life Saudi Arabian hot climate. Different density materials were measured to represent the various types of insulation in a building; roofing insulation having a higher density than wall insulation. The results indicated that thermal conductivity increases with increasing temperature but decreases with increasing density over the temperature range studied.

Some interesting points to be taken from this journal article include:

  • To achieve thermal comfort within a building, whether hot or cool, ideal insulation material should have a lower density (more porous)
  • Although there are many insulation materials on the market (cellulose, glass wool, rock wool, polystyrene, and urethane foam to name a few) other variables for the choice of insulation may include budget, energy costs, and building design.

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