Polyguard PolyPhen® Insulation as featured at IEEE GlobalSpec – Engineering 360 Direct:
Phenolic Insulation – A Wise Choice For Chilled Water Piping
Chilled Water Systems: The Basics
Cool water is circulated to an electric chiller that lowers water temperature to around 45ºF or less. The chilled water is pumped to an air handling unit, where it captures ambient heat and disperses cool air. Large commercial and industrial systems may feature chillers weighing several hundred tons and a vast network of piping. By equipping each room with its own air handler, each area of a large building can be precisely cooled using a single chilled water system.
What is Phenolic Insulation?
Phenolic insulation for use in chilled water applications is produced in large buns. These buns are cut by insulation fabricators using automated computer profiling saws into pipe insulation sections to meet the required R value for a given project. Phenolic foam is a predominantly closed-cell material. Pairing closed-cell phenolic insulation with a good vapor barrier can result in a permeability rating of nearly 0.0, an ideal target for applications like chilled water where condensation is a concern.
Making Sense of Insulation Materials
The end result of these characteristics determine if a product is ideally suited to chilled pipe insulation. But every chilled water system varies, so when selecting insulation, a range of materials should be considered.
The chart above shows the balance between a material’s thermal resistance value (R=1/k, where k=thermal conductivity) and vapor permeability. High thermal resistance and low vapor permeability is desirable.
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