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NNSB tasked the Capstone team with testing the anti-condensation abilities of the Thermal Insulation Coating (TIC) Aerolon®, an aerogel-based insulation manufactured by Tnemec, using Federal test specifications for Coating Compound, Paint Antisweat. The main goal was to observe the anti-condensation abilities of the insulation and to initiate an analysis and comparison of the spray-applied aerogel insulation versus the hand-applied thick foam insulation that is currently used on ship pipes and ventilation. The plan includes creating a computer simulation of the thermal properties of the insulated cylinders as well as a physical experimental setup.
The Capstone team built an acrylic test chamber, and NNSB provided three copper cylinders that were coated in 3 different thicknesses of Aerolon®. The federal specification called for these 3 cylinders to be filled with ice cubes and water and maintained between 32°F and 38°F for the duration of a 3-8 hour test period. The specification also calls for the interior of the acrylic chamber to maintain at a relative humidity of 67% ± 2. Due to the difficulty maintaining the humidity of the chamber without expensive equipment, the humidity was not controlled, but the dew point was calculated. The physical testing right away showed that, even in a cool chamber with a relatively low humidity, the 50mils thick insulation layer allowed for condensation, without any drip. The 100mils and 150 mils thick insulation layers did not allow any condensation for the temperature and humidity tested. It is anticipated that with increased chamber temperature and humidity, all three insulated cylinders will show condensation and possible water runoff.
In addition to physical testing, a computer simulation of the insulated cylinders was created. The simulation allows for observation of the heat distribution inside the different thicknesses of the coating, which could assist in an initial estimate of the thickness of insulation needed for different applications.
Despite timeline differences that set the project back further than expected and financial limitations that prevented the level of control desired in physical testing, Tim Sherrange has proposed to NNSB that the project be continued. The further testing done during this extension could better define the condensation levels and water runoff that each thickness of insulation would allow. At this time the proposal has not been confirmed.
Anti-Condensation, Insulation, Aerogel, Shipbuilding
Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering
Dr. Wei-Ning Wang
VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters
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