In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the use of spray foam insulation in construction. Spray foam insulation varies from traditional insulation, such as fiberglass, in many respects. Fiberglass insulation is typically much cheaper than spray foam insulation; however, it is also less effective at insulating your home. Additionally, spray foaminsulation requires professional installation. Though spray foam insulation is on the rise, fiberglass is still the most common form of home insulation used today. Insulation Spray Coating
Thermal barriers come in the form of 1/2-inch gypsum drywall or any material that is proven to have an equal fire resistance to gypsum wallboard. Additionally, alternate assemblies can be used if they have been tested in a laboratory and approved. Ignition barriers are a lower standard to meet, and can be satisfied with a number of different materials. Like thermal barriers, they can be substituted with equivalent fire resistant materials and alternate assemblies, such as an intumescent coating.
The process typically operates at 39–120 °C to avoid thermal damage. It can induce non-thermally activated surface reactions, causing surface changes which cannot occur with molecular chemistries at atmospheric pressure. Plasma processing is done in a controlled environment inside a sealed chamber at a medium vacuum, around 13–65 Pa. The gas or mixture of gases is energized by an electrical field from DC to microwave frequencies, typically 1–500 W at 50 V. The treated components are usually electrically isolated. The volatile plasma by-products are evacuated from the chamber by the vacuum pump, and if necessary can be neutralized in an exhaust scrubber. Spray Coating
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During the 1980s, a class of thermal spray processes called high velocity oxy-fuel spraying was developed. A mixture of gaseous or liquid fuel and oxygen is fed into a combustion chamber, where they are ignited and combusted continuously. The resultant hot gas at a pressure close to 1 MPa emanates through a converging–diverging nozzle and travels through a straight section. The fuels can be gases (hydrogen, methane, propane, propylene, acetylene, natural gas, etc.) or liquids (kerosene, etc.). The jet velocity at the exit of the barrel (>1000 m/s) exceeds the speed of sound. A powder feed stock is injected into the gas stream, which accelerates the powder up to 800 m/s. The stream of hot gas and powder is directed towards the surface to be coated. The powder partially melts in the stream, and deposits upon the substrate. The resulting coating has low porosity and high bond strength. Spray Coating
The video below is from a house near Charleston, South Carolina that I visited recently, and you'll see that the homeowner in this case didn't get his money's worth. I knew immediately when I walked into the attic that something was wrong because it was hot up there. In a properly insulated spray foam attic, the temperature won't be much higher than the house temperature.
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Allison--would be very interested in your take on the GHG issues of foams, which have received lots of smart commentary recently. To highlight a few: architect Jesse Thompson's comments on Tom's Good vs Bad post on Energy Circle, the very thorough piece by Alex Wilson on Green Building Advisor and Michael Anschel's cautionary diatribe on Remodeling.
Due to a wide range of nozzle shapes and sizes, the consistency of the paint can be varied. The shape of the workpiece and the desired paint consistency and pattern are important factors when choosing a nozzle. The three most common nozzles are the full cone, hollow cone, and flat stream. There are two types of air-gun spraying processes. In a manual operation method the air-gun sprayer is held by a skilled operator, about 6 to 10 inches (15–25 cm) from the object, and moved back and forth over the surface, each stroke overlapping the previous to ensure a continuous coat. In an automatic process the gun head is attached to a mounting block and delivers the stream of paint from that position. The object being painted is usually placed on rollers or a turntable to ensure overall equal coverage of all sides.
As this example illustrates, it's important to seal the envelope completely. One of spray foam's biggest selling points is its air-sealing ability, but it can't seal places where it's not sprayed. One of the nice things about using spray foam in new construction is that you can do a Blower Door test before the drywall goes in. Even better, you can test for leaks with a fog machine. Spray Coating