Thermal insulation is the process whereby insulation materials are fixed to an object, to keep the desired temperature inside the object. It restricts the transmission of energy, between surfaces of objects, in different temperatures. This energy can either be heat or cold.
Thermal insulation can either keep a container cold or hot.
Proper thermal insulation involves the following processes:
- Thermal engineering
- Appropriate object shapes
Heat is transferred through conduction, convection or radiation. Thermal insulation materials, also known as insulators, have low heat conductivity. They reduce heat transfer.
Types Of Thermal Insulation
Insulation can be achieved through three effects.
This involves using materials that are resistant to heat conduction, for insulated purposes. It is also known as bulk insulation.
The insulators trap pockets of air inside themselves.
Air is one of the best resistance to heat transfer, once it cannot move. Therefore, the insulation materials are fixed in such a way that the air within them, does not move.
Examples of insulators used in this process are polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), mineral wool, and glass fibre.
Resistive insulation is used in new refrigerated vans, to control the internal temperature.
Reflective insulation reduces heat transferred by radiation.
This installation is dependent on the nature and colour of the insulator. It is only effective within a hole/cavity, or when placed on a composite object.
Capacitive insulation is used when there are temperature fluctuations, between the external environment and the internal environment of the object, being insulated.
What Is Thermal Insulation Used For?
Thermal insulation is used in various industries for different purposes.
Building and construction:
Thermal insulation is used to make buildings more energy efficient, so that there won’t be loss of heat during winter periods, or loss of cold from the air conditioners, during summer. In other words, the insulators ensures that the temperature generated within the building is conserved.
It can also be used for sound insulation, to reduce noise transfer, from one room to another.
Thermal insulation in buildings improve energy efficiency, of the heating and cooling equipment.
This controls the temperature in pipes and equipment like boilers.
To enable new and used refrigerated vehicles to have a consistent desired temperature, thermal insulation is needed.
Refrigerated trucks are used to transport temperature sensitive products, equipment, and medical supplies. They are also used in transporting animals, insects and fresh, perishable foods.
As a result, the atmosphere they are transported in must maintain a constant temperature degree.
Thermal insulation is used in refrigerated vans, to ensure that the cold temperature generated by the refrigerating unit is preserved, inside the vehicle.
Thermal Insulation Materials
Materials used for thermal insulation have low thermal conductivity, high density, and low heat capacity.
These materials include:
- Polyurethane foam
- Polystyrene foam
- Polyethylene foam
- Phenolic foam
- Expanded synthetic rubber
- Expanded nitrile rubber
Polystyrene foam is popularly used for insulation in every industry. It is very cheap and can be used for wall, floor and roof insulation.
Glacier vehicles uses Styrofoam, an expanded polymer foam, or an extruded polystyrene, to insulate refrigerated vans. This saves cost for you, since the material is cheap, yet very effective.
Thermal Insulation In Refrigerated Vans
Insulation is used to ensure that heat is not transferred into the cargo cabin, of a refrigerated van.
It controls the internal temperature of the cargo compartment, so that the desired temperature is easier to achieve and maintain.
Importance Of Thermal Insulation In Refrigerated Vans
Insulating a refrigerated vehicle is very important because without it, achieving a suitable temperature for the transported goods, will be more difficult.
When a van is not insulated, more power will be needed to keep the internal temperature of the cargo cabin constant. This power, which is generated by the engine, through a direct drive mechanism, lead to an increase in fuel consumption.
On the other hand, if the refrigerated van is thermally insulated, internal temperature is easily maintained. The van is now fuel efficient.
Since thermal insulation brings about fuel efficiency, less money is spent on purchasing fuel, for the refrigerated van.
This enables businesses in the distribution and cold chain industry, to minimise cost and make profit.
Accurate Control of Temperature:
The insulators in a refrigerated vehicle, ensure that the temperature generated by the refrigerating unit is maintained. Because insulation materials reduce heat conduction on transfer, the temperature within the cargo compartment, does not transfer to the external environment, and is preserved.
Van Conversion Process
To covert a vehicle into a refrigerated van, a dry goods panel van is insulated, and a refrigeration unit is added.
Glacier installs thermal insulation in refrigerated vehicles, through a four-part conversion process.
- Wood boarding
- Fiberglass-like sheeting
- GRP resin sheeting
Styrofoam: Styrofoam, a dense polymer foam, is fixed to the entire surface of the cargo compartment, to ensure that it is properly insulated.
Styrofoam does not absorb water quickly, and compresses easily.
Glacier Vehicles uses Styrofoam that are 50mil thick for fridge vans, and 75mil thick for new or used freezer vans.
Wood boarding: Once the Styrofoam is fixed, panel of woods are fitted next.
The wood keeps the Styrofoam and the air trapped inside it, in place.
The wood is fixed on the floor, roof, and walls, of the cargo compartment. It is treated with antibacterial spray and fungicide, to prevent growth of microorganisms, and ensure a hygienic environment for food, medical supplies and other products, transported in the van.
Fiberglass-like interior sheeting: Fibreglass-like material is added next, to act as a keying agent, for GRP.
GRP resin sheeting: Finally, Glass Reinforced Polyester is added, using a wet lay roller.
GRP acts as a coating. It is applied wet, so that it can fill all the tiny spaces that would otherwise become a breeding ground for bacteria, and mould.
GRP is airtight and dries up on contact. It is 100% hygienic, providing a clean, loadable, compartment.