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Heat insulating materials
Heat insulating materials are required to grant protection against heat and cold. These materials are generally porous and their properties are governed not only by their porosity but also by the nature of pores, their distribution, size and whether they are open or closed. The materials with a greater number of fine, closed and air filled pores are the best heat insulating materials. The bulk density of heat insulating materials is usually below 700 kg / cubic meter and their coefficient of heat conductivity does not exceed 0.18 k cal per m hr degree Celsius.
If heat insulating materials are properly used in building construction, they greatly reduce the heat losses to the environmental medium through wall structures and as a result of this, fuel consumption is reduced. Thus the economic efficiency of thermal insulation is very high and the investments made in heat insulating materials can be recovered in a short duration of time.
In general, it can be stated that the low heat conductivity of heat insulating materials is due to their air filled pores. Hence, if their efficiency is to be maintained, it should be seen that these pores are not covered with a film of water or are filled with water because the coefficient of heat conductivity of water is about 25 times higher than that of air. Hence heat insulating materials should protect against the moisture.
The choice of an insulating material depends on its cost, area to be covered, standard of insulation required and the cost of heating or cooling. The thermal insulating material should be reasonably fireproof, non absorbent of moisture, able to resist attack of small insects and not liable to undergo deformation. The usual insulating materials are rock wool, slag wool, fibreboard, flexible blankets, saw dust, wood shavings, corkboard slabs, mineral wool slabs, aluminium foils, products of cement concrete with lightweight aggregates, gypsum boards, asbestos cement boards, chip boards, foam glass, gasket cork sheet, foam plastic, etc.
Materials of low density provide better thermal insulation than those of higher density.
Cork is obtained from the bark of cork oak trees. The bark is ground, cleaned and baked. During baking, the natural resin present in cork comes out and binds the material into a homogeneous mass.
Properties of cork:
1. It is good insulator of electricity and sound.
2. It is light in weight.
3. It is not attacked by heat and moisture.
4. It is porous.
5. It is resilient and reasonably elastic.
Uses of Cork
Cork is widely used for preparing cork sheets and boards, bottle stoppers, packing gaskets etc. Cork carpet is available in rolls of 6 mm thickness and 1.83 m width with a variety of colours. It is suitable as a floor covering for places like churches, theatres, etc. where a noiseless covering is required. Cork tilesare obtained by compressing cork shavings in moulds with a thickness of 12mm. The moulded tiles are then baked. These tiles are fairly elastic, noiseless and durable. They can be used as covering for walls as well as floors.