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PERMATHERM EXCLUSIVE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PermaTherm has endeavored to attempt to answer an extensive series of frequently asked questions below. This is an attempt to help our customer in understanding issues and items involved with pipe insulation products and systems. We are the ONLY insulation material provider in the industry to do so.

A

What is Absolute temperature?
Absolute temperature is the temperature expressed in degrees above absolute zero. Absolute Zero is the lowest temperature theoretically attainable. The temperature at which there is no more heat and no longer molecular movement. The zero point of the scale is 459.6 degrees below the zero of the Fahrenheit scale and 273.2 degrees below the zero of the centigrade scale.

What is Absorption?  
Absorption is the action of a material in extracting another substance from an atmosphere when there is a chemical and/or physical change in the absorbent.

What is Absorptivity?
Absorptivity is the ratio of radiant heat absorbed by a body to the heat absorbed by a black body under the same conditions.

What is Ambient Air?
Ambient Air is generally the air surrounding an object or a surface, consisting of ambient temperature, ambient humidity, etc.

What is Ambient Temperature?
Ambient Temperature is the average temperature of the medium, usually air, surrounding the object under consideration.

 

B

What is Black Body radiation?
Black Body is a theoretical body that would absorb all radiation falling on it, reflecting and transmitting none.

What is Boiling Point?
Boiling point is that temperature at which a liquid is vaporized into a gas without a change in temperature. The boiling point of a liquid is dependent upon the absolute pressure at the vapor-liquid surface.

What is Bond Strength?
Bond Strength – The force in tension, compression, cleavage or shear required to break an adhesive assembly.

What is Bonding Time?
Bonding Time – The time required for an adhesive to reach its optimum bonding strength.

What is a Btu?
A Btu is the abbreviation of British thermal unit and is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1°F. The Btu is used to measure the amount of heat just as the inch or foot is used to measure length or as the minute or hour is used to measure time. When fuels burn, the approximate heat generated is 13,000 Btu from a pound of coal, 141,000 Btu from a gallon of oil, and 1,000 Btu from a cubic foot of natural gas.

 

C

What is Calorie?
A Calorie (Gram Calorie) is a unit of heat or energy. It is the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1°C.

What is “C”?
“C” represents the conductance of a material and is used to show the amount of heat (Btu’s) that will pass per hour through 1 square foot of a homogeneous or non-homogeneous material or a combination of materials for the thickness or type under consideration for a difference in temperature of 1°F between the two surfaces. The average “C” value of an 8-inch hollow concrete block is 0.90.

What is Cellular Insulation?
Cellular Insulation is insulation composed of small, individual cells separated from each other. The cellular material may be glass or plastic such as polystyrene, polyurethane, polyisocyanurate or elastomeric. Cellular insulation may have “open” or “closed” cells.

What is Centigrade?
The Centigrade (C) temperature scale is a thermometric system in which 0 degrees denotes the freezing and 100 degrees the boiling point of pure water at standard atmospheric pressure.

What is Cladding?
The cladding is jacketing installed over insulation. Jacketing can be metal (e.g. aluminum or stainless steel), or PVC.

What is Clearance?
Clearance is the adequate space allowed for installation of insulation materials.

What is Closed Cell Foam?
Closed Cell Foam in the context of insulation is a material comprised predominantly of individual non-interconnecting cells that contain gas that may have better thermal conductivity than either air (or CO2) or the solid insulant material itself.

What is Coating?
A “coating” is a liquid or semi-liquid that dries or cures to form a protective finish, suitable for application to thermal insulation or other surfaces in a dry thickness of 30 mils or less per coat.

What is a Cooler?
In cold-storage practice, an insulated room maintained at 30°F or above.

What is Compressive Strength?
Compressive Strength is the property of an insulation material that resists any change in dimensions when acted upon by a compaction force.

What is a Condensate Drain?
A Condensate Drain is the Piping carrying condensed water from air conditioning or refrigeration drip pans to a point of discharge.

What is Condensate Return?
Condensate Return is the liquid formed by condensation of vapor. In steam heating, it is water condensed from steam. In air conditioning, it is the water extracted from the air by cooling.

What is Condensation?
Condensation is the act of water vapor turning into liquid upon contact with a cold surface.

What is Conduction (Thermal)?
Thermal Conduction is the transfer of energy by virtue of a temperature difference. It is the process of heat transfer through a substance in which energy is transmitted from particle to particle without gross displacement of the particles. If you sit on a cold stone step or a cold metal chair, you instantly feel the discomfort that comes from the contact of your warm body with the colder surface. This way of transferring heat by contact is called Conduction.

What is Convection?
Convection is the motion resulting in a fluid from the differences in density and the action of gravity. A warm-air furnace transfers heat to the rooms of the house by moving air. This transfer of heat by moving air is called Convection.

What is a Contact Adhesive?
A Contact Adhesive is an adhesive that when tacky to the touch will adhere to itself instantaneously on contact.

What is Cryogenic Insulation?
Cryogenic Insulation, an imprecise term, is generally descriptive of insulation for extremely low-temperature processes surfaces from -100° F to -459° F (absolute zero).

D

What is De-humidification?
De-humidification is the removal of water vapor from a gas and can be accomplished by physical, chemical, or thermal means.

What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is the removal of water from all forms of matter. Liquid water, hygroscopic water, water of crystallization and water of hydration are included.

What is Density?
Density of a material is the mass or weight per unit volume.

What is Dew point?
The Dew Point is the temperature at which the condensation of water vapor begins for a given condition of humidity and pressure as the temperature of the water vapor is reduced. The dew point temperature corresponds to 100 percent relative humidity for a given absolute humidity at constant pressure.

What is a Duct?
A Duct is a passageway made of sheet metal or other suitable material used for conveying air or other gas.

E

What is an Elastomeric?
An elastomeric insulant is a closed-cell foam insulation containing elastomers that provide the property of high elasticity.

What is Emissivity?
Emissivity is a characteristic of a surface which determines its ability to emit or give off heat by radiation. Its value is the ratio of heat radiated by a body to the heat radiated by a black body under the same conditions. Values range from 0 to 1.

What is Enthalpy?
Enthalpy is a term used in lieu of “total heat” or “heat content,” e.g., when a change occurs at constant pressure, as when water is boiled, the change in enthalpy is equal to the heat added; in this case, latent heat.

What is Entropy?
Insulation systems (thermodynamic systems) lose energy that would otherwise be used productively within/by the “working fluids”. Hot systems get cooler and cool systems to get warmer. This waste results in an increase in entropy, which for a closed system is “a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

F

What is an Elastomeric?
An elastomeric insulant is a closed-cell foam insulation containing elastomers that provide the property of high elasticity.

What is Emissivity?
Emissivity is a characteristic of a surface which determines its ability to emit or give off heat by radiation. Its value is the ratio of heat radiated by a body to the heat radiated by a black body under the same conditions. Values range from 0 to 1.

What is Enthalpy?
Enthalpy is a term used in lieu of “total heat” or “heat content,” e.g., when a change occurs at constant pressure, as when water is boiled, the change in enthalpy is equal to the heat added; in this case, latent heat.

What is Entropy?
Insulation systems (thermodynamic systems) lose energy that would otherwise be used productively within/by the “working fluids”. Hot systems get cooler and cool systems to get warmer. This waste results in an increase in entropy, which for a closed system is “a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

H

What is an Elastomeric?
An elastomeric insulant is a closed-cell foam insulation containing elastomers that provide the property of high elasticity.

What is Emissivity?
Emissivity is a characteristic of a surface which determines its ability to emit or give off heat by radiation. Its value is the ratio of heat radiated by a body to the heat radiated by a black body under the same conditions. Values range from 0 to 1.

What is Enthalpy?
Enthalpy is a term used in lieu of “total heat” or “heat content,” e.g., when a change occurs at constant pressure, as when water is boiled, the change in enthalpy is equal to the heat added; in this case, latent heat.

What is Entropy?
Insulation systems (thermodynamic systems) lose energy that would otherwise be used productively within/by the “working fluids”. Hot systems get cooler and cool systems to get warmer. This waste results in an increase in entropy, which for a closed system is “a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

I

What is Insulation (Thermal)?
Thermal Insulation consists of any material having a relatively high resistance to heat flow, and is used principally to retard the flow of heat.

K

What is “k-factor”?
Thermal conductivity (k) is the amount of heat (Btu’s) transferred in 1 hour through 1 square foot of a homogeneous material 1 inch thick for a difference in temperature of 1°F. For example, the average “k” for Armaflex is 0.25. This means that for a 1 inch thickness, there is a heat transfer of 0.25 Btu per hour per square foot for each degree difference in temperature between its two surfaces. Usually expressed in Btu/hr, sq.ft.(F/in.) in the insulation field.

What is Kelvin?
Kelvin (K) is a temperature scale sometimes called centigrade absolute. Its zero is at the lowest attainable temperature or 273.15° below the zero on the centigrade scale.

L

What is Latent Heat?
Latent Heat is that heat involved in a change of state without a change in temperature, i.e., the heat necessary to change 212°F water to 212°F steam.

M

What is Mean Temperature?
Mean Temperature is the arithmetic mean of inner and outer surface temperatures of insulation. The mean temperature is used to select a value for conductivity in heat-loss calculations. When a conductivity curve is not a straight line, a theoretical error in selection is involved, which, however, is not generally so much as 1 percent.

What is Mold and Mildew Resistance?
Mold and Mildew Resistance is the property of a material that enables it to resist the formation of fungus growth.

N

What is Latent Heat?
Latent Heat is that heat involved in a change of state without a change in temperature, i.e., the heat necessary to change 212°F water to 212°F steam.

P

What is a Perm?
A Perm is a measure of vapor transmission rate. Defined as 1 grain of water vapor per hour for 1 square foot area for 1 inch of mercury-pressure difference. Other units are also used to express vapor transmission rates. Grains/hr., sq.ft., in.Hg.

What is Permeability?
Permeability is a rating of a material giving the amount of water vapor that passes through 1 inch thickness of the material. Grains/hr., sq.ft. (in.Hg/in.)

What is Permeance?
Permeance is the same as permeability except that it is a rating of the material at the thickness tested. Grains/hr., sq.ft., (in.Hg.)

What is Phenolic Foam?
Phenolic Foam is a closed cell  foamed insulation made from resins of phenols condensed with aldehydes.

What is a Plenum?
A Plenum is an enclosures for the collection of air at the termination or origin of duct systems. They may be a space below floors, above ceilings, a shaft or a furred area.

What is Polyethylene?
Polyethylene is a closed-cell, thermoplastic material used for insulation.

What is a Polyimide?
What is See cellular polyimide.

What is Polyisocyanurate?
Polyisocyanurate (polyiso or PIR) is a closed-cell, thermoset, plastic foam formed by combining isocyanurate, polyol, surfactants, catalysts and blowing agents.

What is Polymer?
A polymer is a long chain molecule resulting from the chemical attachment of short molecules (monomers) of the same product. For example, when ethylene (a gas) is polymerized, the synthetic resin polyethylene is produced.

What is Polyolefin?
A polyolefin is a closed-cell thermoplastic material used for insulation.

What is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)?
PVC is a polymerized vinyl compound using chloride.

What is Polyvinyl Fluoride (PVF)?
PVF is a polymerized vinyl compound using fluoride.

What is Potential Heat?
Potential Heat is the approximate amount of Btu’s required to fully burn or incinerate 1 lb. Armaflex — 9,000 Btu’s for 4.5 lb. of Armaflex.

 

S

What is a Saddle?
An insulated pipe saddle is a rigid support for piping or equipment with allowance for insulation.

What is Saturation?
Saturation is the condition of co-existence in stable equilibrium of a vapor and a liquid or a vapor and a solid of the same substance.

What is Self-Extinguishing?
Self-extinguishing is the property of a material that enables it to stop its own ignition after external ignition sources are removed.

What is Sensible Heat?
Sensible Heat is that heat which changes only the temperature of a substance.

What is a Sharp freezer?
In cold-storage practice, a freezer room generally operating at -10°F or lower.

What is Solar Resistance?
Solar Resistance is the property of a material to resist decomposition by the ultraviolet rays from the sun or the passage of radiant heat from the sun.

What is Sorption?
Sorption can be either adsorption or absorption.

What is Specific Heat?
Specific Heat is the heat absorbed (or given up) by a unit mass of a substance when its temperature is increased (or decreased) by 1 degree. Or the ratio of the amount of heat required to raise unit mass of a material 1 degree to that required to raise unit mass of water 1 degree at some specified temperature.

What is Sprayed-on Insulation?
Sprayed on Insulation can be of the fibrous or foam type that is applied to a surface by means of power spray devices.

What is Surface Conductance?
Surface Conductance (h) is the amount of heat transmitted by radiation, conduction, and convection from a surface to the fluid surrounding it, or vice versa, in one hour for each square foot for a temperature difference of 1 degree between the surface and the fluid. Usually expressed as Btu/hr., sq.ft., F.

S

What is a Saddle?
An insulated pipe saddle is a rigid support for piping or equipment with allowance for insulation.

What is Saturation?
Saturation is the condition of co-existence in stable equilibrium of a vapor and a liquid or a vapor and a solid of the same substance.

What is Self-Extinguishing?
Self-extinguishing is the property of a material that enables it to stop its own ignition after external ignition sources are removed.

What is Sensible Heat?
Sensible Heat is that heat which changes only the temperature of a substance.

What is a Sharp freezer?
In cold-storage practice, a freezer room generally operating at -10°F or lower.

What is Solar Resistance?
Solar Resistance is the property of a material to resist decomposition by the ultraviolet rays from the sun or the passage of radiant heat from the sun.

What is Sorption?
Sorption can be either adsorption or absorption.

What is Specific Heat?
Specific Heat is the heat absorbed (or given up) by a unit mass of a substance when its temperature is increased (or decreased) by 1 degree. Or the ratio of the amount of heat required to raise unit mass of a material 1 degree to that required to raise unit mass of water 1 degree at some specified temperature.

What is Sprayed-on Insulation?
Sprayed on Insulation can be of the fibrous or foam type that is applied to a surface by means of power spray devices.

What is Surface Conductance?
Surface Conductance (h) is the amount of heat transmitted by radiation, conduction, and convection from a surface to the fluid surrounding it, or vice versa, in one hour for each square foot for a temperature difference of 1 degree between the surface and the fluid. Usually expressed as Btu/hr., sq.ft., F.

T

What is Temperature?
Temperature is the thermal state of matter as regards its tendency to communicate heat to matter in contact with it. If there is no difference in temperature, no heat will flow on contact.

What is Temperature Dry-bulb?
Dry-bulb Temperature is sometimes called ambient or sensible temperature and it is the temperature of a gas or mixture of gases as measured by a transducer that remains dry. The transducer may be a thermometer, thermocouple, resistance bulb or any other temperature measuring device. To be truly accurate, it should be shielded from radiation or corrected for it.

What is Temperature Wet-bulb?
Wet-bulb Temperature  is the temperature indicated by a wet-bulb transducer when used according to accepted standards. Technically, the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature is the temperature at which liquid or solid water, by evaporating into air, can bring the air to saturation adiabatically at the same temperature.

What is a Thermal Insulation System?
An Insulation System is an applied or installed thermal insulation complete with any accessories, vapor retarder, and facing required.

U

What is “U”?
“U” designates the total or overall transmission of heat (Btu’s) in 1 hour per square foot of area for a difference in temperature of 1°F between the air on one side to air on the other side of a structure. The “U” value of an uninsulated frame wall consisting of wood siding, wood sheathing, 2 x 4 studs, gypsum lath and plaster is 0.24 Btu. If insulated with 2 inches of typical blanket insulation, the “U” value becomes 0.087 Btu, and if insulated with 3 inches, it would be 0.065 Btu.

V

What is a Vapor Barrier?
In the context of pipe insulation, A Vapor Barrier is a non-permeable sheet wrapped over the insulation to prevent moisture/water infiltration across this boundary protecting the insulation. A vapor barrier is generally defined as having a permeance of 0.01 Perms (grains/[ft2*hr*inHg]).

What is Vapor pressure?
Vapor Pressure is that part of the atmospheric pressure which is exerted by the water vapor present in the air.

What is Vibration Resistance?
Vibration Resistance is the property of a material that indicates its ability to resist mechanical vibration without wearing away, setting or dusting.

What is a Vapor Retarder?
A Vapor Retarder has less resistance to water vapor intrusion that a Vapor Barrier, and should generally have less that 0.1 Perms.

W

What is a Vapor Barrier?
In the context of pipe insulation, A Vapor Barrier is a non-permeable sheet wrapped over the insulation to prevent moisture/water infiltration across this boundary protecting the insulation. A vapor barrier is generally defined as having a permeance of 0.01 Perms (grains/[ft2*hr*inHg]).

What is Vapor pressure?
Vapor Pressure is that part of the atmospheric pressure which is exerted by the water vapor present in the air.

What is Vibration Resistance?
Vibration Resistance is the property of a material that indicates its ability to resist mechanical vibration without wearing away, setting or dusting.

What is a Vapor Retarder?
A Vapor Retarder has less resistance to water vapor intrusion that a Vapor Barrier, and should generally have less that 0.1 Perms.