Heat transfer – how do you prevent it and why should it be prevented?

Heat is transferred in three ways, by convection, conduction and radiation. With insulation heat transfer can be controlled. Insulation has also impacts on both the economy and the environment.

Heat is one form of energy, like electricity. Heat always transfers from a higher temperature to a lower temperature, according to the rules of thermodynamics. Transition occurs in three different ways and heat spreads to environment if not controlled in any way. In some cases, it is good that heat is transferred, such as solar heat, but that is not always desirable either. Heat transfer can cause a wide range of challenges, from moisture damage to compromising work safety.

Heat is transferred by convection, radiation, and conduction

Convection means that thermal energy is transferred with the flow of air or liquid. Radiation always occurs in all objects with a temperature above the absolute zero point (-273.16 ° C). The higher the temperature of the body, the greater the intensity of the radiation. Conduction means the transfer of heat through a medium without the substance itself moving. For example, in a sauna, heat is transferred from the stove to the environment in all three different ways and Einari can enjoy the wonderful warmth of the sauna. You can watch the video here (link to the video). But if the sauna had not been insulated, the stove should be heated quite a lot, especially in wintertime, to keep the heat high enough in the steam room. That is, in this case, the heat transfer is allowed to happen to the surrounding air. But the aim is to maintain the temperature by means of thermal insulation inside the sauna so that the heat of the steam can be enjoyed.

Heat transfer is prevented by insulation

As the previous example show, heat is transferred in many ways. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Heat transfer can be controlled and prevented by insulation so that it doesn’t transfer to the environment. The purpose of the insulation is to prevent heat transfer from a higher temperature to a lower temperature and therefore all ways of heat transfer should be taken into account when designing the insulation. The most important property of insulation is thermal conductivity, e.g., a material with poor thermal conductivity acts as a good thermal insulator.

Because heat transfer can occur in many ways and at the same time in the same body or space, high expertise is needed to ensure that the insulation is done correctly. We made a list of examples why you should insulate:

  • reduce energy costs
  • maintain a certain temperature, e.g., industrial processes
  • prevent freezing
  • prevent condensation
  • prevent and control fires
  • improve work safety
  • reduce noise and sound

By insulating you can achieve significant business savings. Reducing energy costs alone can save a lot. At the same time, work safety and job satisfaction are improved when temperatures remain optimal and there is no danger of burning oneself, for example. Corrosion of various pipelines and equipment is also significantly reduced with the right kind of insulation.

Environmental impact of insulation

Insulation also has significant environmental impacts. Insulation reduces wasted energy, which is directly linked to use of fossil fuels, oil, natural gas, and coal, thus reducing the need to use them. Industrial processes, especially in the forest, metal and chemical industries, are energy-intensive sectors that use a lot of fossil energy. The use of fossil energy sources generates emissions into the atmosphere, which has an impact on global warming. Emissions, apart from carbon dioxide, can be controlled by a variety of methods, resulting in no emissions.

However, the most effective way is to invest in energy efficiency, e.g., through insulation, when energy demand stays low. When looking at isolation over the long term and looking at life-cycle costs, it can be concluded that money is saved. Isolation therefore has significant economic implications, which, however, are not only visible in the wallet, but also in the work environment and safety.

Safe insulation solutions from experts

Insulation should always be considered as a complete solution, so that all the mechanisms of heat transfer are taken into account, and the right type of insulation is chosen. It is not enough just to insulate, also the properties of the insulation should maintain as long as possible. The best way to do this is to protect the insulation from the effects of the environment, such as water or moisture. The method of protection depends on the application. For example, a sheet metal cladding is a versatile, weather, shock, heat, and cold resistant and very long-lasting cladding that is recyclable.

For insulation projects, it is worth choosing a partner who knows the insulation, which insulations to use in different situations and is able to plan cost-effective insulation solutions. In large insulation projects, incorrectly calculated amounts of insulation and the wrong type of insulation can cause significant costs. And even if the insulation quantities are dimensioned correctly, logistics can be a challenge, especially for large contracts. Construction sites are often cramped and there are no storage facilities. In this case, the logistics must be considered as carefully as possible so that the insulation arrives at the site on time and in the correct order. In this way, work can be speeded up and at the same time nature is saved when unnecessary driving is eliminated.

When you insulate, insulate adequately and with the right insulation materials!

 

You can ask Kespet’s experts for more information about technical insulation. If you need help for dimensioning your insulation project, we have the exact tools for that.

 

Antti Hyttinen
Project Manager
+35850 597 1364
antti.hyttinen@kespet.fi

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