Thermal Properties are typically first thought of when selecting an insulation material. Other properties must be considered when choosing an insulation type.
Please, find a list of mechanical and chemical properties to consider before selecting an insulation material.
Appearance – Important for exposed areas and coding purposes.
Capillarity - The ability of a cellular, fibrous or granular material to diffuse water into its structure
Chemical resistance – Significant when the atmosphere is salt or chemical laden.
The coefficient of expansion and contraction – Enters into the design and spacing of expansion/contraction joints and or the use of multiple later insulation applications.
Combustibility – One of the measures of material’s potential contribution to a fire hazard.
Compressive strength – Important if the insulation must support a load or withstand mechanical abuse without crushing.
Density – A material’s density affects other properties of that material, especially thermal properties.
Dimensional Stability – Significant when the material is exposed to atmospheric and mechanical abuse such as twisting or vibration from thermally expanding or contracting pipe and equipment.
Fire retardancy – Flame spread and smoke development ratings should be considered.
Hygroscopicity– Tendency of a material to absorb water vapor from the air.
pH (alkalinity or acidity) – Insulation must not contribute to corrosion of the system.
Resistance to fungal or bacterial growth – Significant in outdoor or indoor applications when exposed to high-intensity light.
Resistance to ultraviolet light – Significant in outdoor or indoor applications when exposed to high-intensity light.
Shrinkage – Significant when materials are exposed to high or low temperatures.
Sound absorption coefficient – Must be considered when sound attenuation is required, as it is in radio stations, some hospitals areas, etc.
Sound transmission loss value – Significant when constructing a sound barrier.
Toxicity – Must be considered for all materials used as insulation or accessories.