Paper Conference

Proceedings of eSim 2018: 10th Conference of IBPSA-Canada


Impact of Aging Effects on the Effective Conductivity of Foam Insulation: Simulation Results Using Laboratory Characterization Data

Douglas Belanger, Umberto Berardi

Abstract: The thermal conductivity of the insulating materials is fundamental in designing high performance building envelopes. This property is often advertised using a single value that is implied to be constant, though research shows that most insulating materials have an effective conductivity that may change over a range of environmental parameters, such as temperature and moisture levels. In this research project, various polyurethane and polyisocyanurate materials are analyzed in order to determine how the effective conductivity is altered by accelerated aging, obtained through exposure to high temperature, moisture, and freeze-thaw cycling. The measured results are used in hygrothermal simulations to determine the assumed and actual performance of insulating materials in the context of high performance wall and roof assemblies in cold climates. Results show that the effects of aging and environmental temperature have a higher impact on the performance of polyisocyanurate materials than polyurethane materials. Additionally, high moisture levels contribute to lower performance in all foam materials, with open cell materials experiencing the greatest performance reduction.
Keywords: thermal conductivity, foam insulation, aging, hygrothermal modelling, cold climate
Pages: 433 - 442