Labinsight: Heat Transfer - Calculations Laboratory | Istituto Giordano

Labinsight: Heat Transfer - Calculations Laboratory

(Pubbl. 30/10/2023)
The Heat Transfer - Calculations Laboratory assists Istituto Giordano’s long-established Heat Transfer Department.
This laboratory deals mainly with thermal characterisation of building envelope elements and assessing the hygrothermal performance of facade elements (e.g. windows and doors, curtain walling and ETICS).
As regards calculation work, we are one of the first laboratories in Italy to have obtained voluntary accreditation. In performing our work relating to external thermal insulation composite systems, we have numerous partnerships with various TABs, both Italian and foreign, meaning we have established ourselves as Italy’s go-to laboratory for all manufacturers seeking voluntary CE marking for these systems.
To obtain more in-depth knowledge of this section, we spoke to Departmental Head, Corrado Colagiacomo, who has been managing the laboratory for many years.

What are the main activities carried out in the laboratory?
We deal mainly with numerical simulation that, as an alternative to physical tests, can be used to declare the thermal performance of inhomogeneous building envelope elements. More specifically, by using two-dimensional and three-dimensional finite-element numerical programmes, we can determine the thermal performance (thermal transmittance, thermal resistance, etc.) of windows and doors, roller shutter boxes, curtain walling, industrial doors, radiant heating systems, masonry units, etc. Over time, the department has developed and so-called ‘calculations’ have become the main test method used to determine the performance of the above-mentioned elements, with the benefit of it being a faster, cheaper method with the same, in some cases even better, level of reliability as the standard physical method of Hot Box testing.
In addition to this activity, the department has recently begun testing of external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) in order to obtain voluntary CE marking. We also perform in-situ studies using heat flow meter and thermal imaging camera.
Which test standards apply?
As regards calculation, the main normative references are standards UNI EN ISO 10211 and UNI EN ISO 6946 along with the respective calculation standards for individual products (e.g. standards UNI EN ISO 10077-1/2 for windows, doors or shutters, standard UNI EN ISO 12631 for curtain walling or standard UNI EN ISO 11855 for thermal output of radiant systems). For characterisation of the hygrothermal performance of external thermal insulation composite systems, reference is made to EADs (European Assessment Documents), i.e. documents implemented by the European Organisation for Technical Approvals (EOTA) and TABs (Technical Assessment Bodies) for the purpose of issuing ETAs (European Technical Assessments). More specifically, ETICS are covered by EAD 040083-00-0404. For in-situ heat flow meter measurement, standard UNI ISO 9869-1 is the normative reference, whilst thermographic surveys are performed in compliance with standard UNI EN 13187 with qualification of NDT personnel in accordance with UNI EN ISO 9712.
What equipment do you use to carry out these tests?
For numerical simulation, we use 2D and 3D finite-element software approved for specific calculation standards. As regards hygrothermal assessment, with the assistance of the special set-ups department, we have designed and built our own test rack and temperature and humidity chamber that allow us to simulate outdoor weathering (heat/rain, heat/cold, freeze/thaw cycles). In-situ measurement is performed by heat flow meters, temperature & humidity loggers and thermal imaging cameras.
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