Properly insulated pipes are important element of the projected installations. The material and its thickness should be properly selected. An equally important issue is the use of adequate insulation. Mistakes resulting from negligence or omission can be avoided by using pre-insulated pipes, known in the solar sector as solar ducts.
Design of a pre-insulated pipe
The fundamental principle of constructing solar ducts is to fit them with an outer layer of thermal insulation. Proper material should meet various requirements. It not only has to heat-insulate, but also to be soundproof and hydrophobic. Each solar duct consists of three basic elements: a transmission pipe (also known as line pipe or media pipe), an insulation layer and an outer covering coat.
The transmission pipe can be made of various types of installation materials, among others steel and copper. Each of these materials has its own specificity, which fitters and designers are fully aware of.
It is an element separating the insulation layer from its surroundings. Its task is to provide protection to the other components of the solar duct against adverse weather conditions, UV radiation and animals (especially birds).
There are many forms of insulation. The most common is a foam wrapping. It is characterized by relatively high thickness and average heat-insulation properties. Recently, other modern insulation materials have appeared on the market. Particular attention should be paid to Aerogel. This extremely light material is regarded as the world's best insulator.
The most popular insulation materials are:
- Aerogel – nanotechnology is included in the material, which results in very low density and very high energy absorption capacity (average heat penetration rate is of the order of 0,014 W/mK). The material is hydrophobic, antiseptic and stress-resistant. It can be used within temperature range from -200°C to +200°C;
- Polyethylene foam (EPE) – this material has a closed cellular structure, low density, high energy absorption capacity (average heat penetration rate is of the order of 0,038 W/mK). It is stress-resistant as well. It can be used within temperature range from -45°C to +90°C;
- Polyurethane foam (PU) – this material is resilient, thus it absorbs sounds relatively well. Average heat penetration rate is 0,035 W/mK. Maximum operating temperature is +135°C.
The main advantages of using pre-insulated pipes, including solar ducts, are:
- Maintaining the parameters of the heating medium throughout its route - this is of particular significance when the pipes run through non-heated areas (basements, attics, underground pipes);
- Protection against devastation of some finishing materials (thermal protection).
Basic advantages of pre-insulated pipes.
Pre-insulated pipes are ranked among bonded pipes. The fact that they are factory-made provides various amenities:
- They reduce noises;
- They are an integral entirety, which reduces energy losses;
- Ready-made installation sets facilitate and hasten assembly. They also reduce the risk of technical fault;
- The cost of transport is lower compared to traditional system - the pipes need less space than components stored separately.
Solar ducts with Aerogel insulation
The market of solar ducts with Aerogel technology is one of the most prospective and quickly developing sectors of solar installations' elements. The products containing Aspen's Aerogel are regarded as highly innovative and environment friendly.
From among the assortment of products containing Aerogel it is worth using those providing the highest class material: Spacloft Aerogel. Also available on the market are solar ducts containing Pyrogel material, which are characterized by inferior heat penetration rate and less favorable effective work range.
The solar ducts available on the market and containing the Aerogel technologies are sold as the NanoSun² double pipes manufactured by Iryd Sp. z o.o.
The market of pre-insulated pipes containing Aerogel already offers new products, such as: NANOX INOX single corrugated pipe made of Inox steel and NANOX COOPER single copper pipe.
Why is it worth using solar ducts containing Aerogel technology?
- Unique heat penetration properties: only 0,014 W/mK;
- Even four times lower duct volume compared to traditional solutions;
- Unique service life of the used materials;
- Resistance to UV rays;
- Compression strength (underfloor installation is possible);
- Extremely wide range of effective work temperature: -200°C to +200°C;
- Much lower costs of transport and storage, due to reduced volume.