Insulation Work

Insulation Work

 

(also heat-insulation work or thermal-insulation work), the operations involved in thermally insulating the components of buildings and structures, pipelines, industrial equipment, means of transportation, and so on. A distinction is made between construction insulation work (insulating the enclosing members of buildings and structures) and installation insulation work (insulating pipelines, heating units, and refrigeration units).

Depending on the dimensions and configuration of the surface being insulated and also on the type of insulating material, the insulation barrier may be produced by laying and securing large factory-made pieces (slabs, blocks, and segments), soft roll materials (blankets and rope), or small individual articles (bricks), by directly applying or spraying various coatings, or by pouring loose materials. The pouring of loose materials and the application of coatings are the most labor-intensive types of heat-insulation work. When a loose material is poured, steps are taken to prevent spontaneous compaction of the insulating material and the formation of cavities in it. Spraying and pouring, which are relatively new methods of insulation, use polymeric insulating materials in the form of hardening foams. Both ready-mix polymer foams produced by mixing a liquid polymer with a foaming agent (for example, mipora, a foamed-plastic insulator) and polymer compounds that foam during the hardening process (phenol or polyurethane sealing compounds) are used.

In addition to installing or applying the insulating material itself, insulation work includes steps to ensure that the insulation is protected from moisture, vapor, and mechanical damage. Provision is made for vapor barriers if the insulating material will be exposed to moisture, as in the case of pipelines laid in the open air or underground or if one side of the element being insulated is exposed to temperatures below 0°C (refrigeration units, buildings in cold climates). In the latter case, water vapor condenses on the cold surface, and consequently the vapor barrier is placed on the warm side of the components. The insulation is protected from mechanical damage by facing it with dense materials, installing special protective casings (for example, metal), or plastering.

In modern industrial construction, insulation work is done primarily at the factory, during the manufacture of prefabricated design elements and parts—for example, single-layer structural insulation panels or multilayer panels in which the insulating material is used only for heat protection. For nonstructural heat insulation, ready-to-use elements are manufactured that reduce the insulation work to securing the elements to the surface to be insulated; this greatly increases labor productivity and the quality of the work.

REFERENCES

Stroitel’nye normy i pravila, part 3, sec. V, ch. 10: Teploizoliatsiia: Pravila proizvodstva i priemki rabot. Moscow, 1963.
Matiukhin, A. N. Teploizoliatsionnye raboty, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1975.

IU. P. GORLOV and K. N. POPOV

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