SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings: Usage of Thermal Blocks in Walls

Yireikan Khapudang, General Manager, SRS Finlay

The continuing need to conserve energy has resulted in mandated requirements for the thermal performance of construction. Since it is impractical to measure all buildings or building components and systems for thermal properties, simple and accurate methods to reliably predict thermal performance are necessary. Design professionals must estimate the energy requirements associated with all types of building systems, including masonry, to select appropriate systems and to provide for economical heating and cooling design.

Building design and material properties influence thermal performance and energy consumption for residential and commercial buildings. Insulated wall, floor and roof systems provide an innovative combination of excellent thermal conductivity, thermal mass and low air-infiltration. This practical combination of properties in one system provides an excellent thermal insulation material and permits peak energy usage in the building to be shifted to off-peak hours, thus reducing operation cost for building users and owners, improving comfort of living and reducing the demand on power generation facilities. One can look at Substantial reduction in air conditioning tonnage and huge savings in monthly electricity bills up to 40%. It is very economical for centrally air-conditioned buildings, public utility structures, government buildings, schools, hospitals, theatres, shopping complexes, and so on.

Thermal Blocks
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
Thermal / Dow STYROFOAM (XPS)/Polystyrene insulated blocks are made of concrete consisting of selected aggregate and cement with extruded STYROFOAM (XPS). The Polystyrene/STYROFOAM (XPS) is specially designed and placed symmetrically during the time of moulding the blocks at wet stage of concrete.

Thermal blocks are high load bearing, fire resistant, excellent sound insulation and high thermal efficiency building concrete blocks.

The most standard sizes of thermal blocks with cavities are
  • Size 1: 400x200x200 mm (8")
  • Size 2: 400x250x200 mm (10")
Thermal Values of the blocks recorded at 35°C and 60% R.H.
  • U value: .362watt/m2 K
  • K value: .037 watt/m K
  • R value: 1.75 m2 K/ watt
Product Description
It is a STYROFOAM (XPS) sandwiched block where the STYROFOAM (XPS) is integrally locked symmetrically into concrete structure (incorporated at the wet stage of concrete itself) resulting in an excellent thermal insulation and bonding. This is a proven technology of two decades, widely used in Europe and Middle East.

F-24 C, SRS Finlay Egg Laying machines allow such arrangement in which profiled STYROFOAM (XPS) pieces are pre-fixed on the mould box where the semi dry mixture pours over the top. The profiled cut STYROFOAM (XPS) can be supplied by players like Dow chemical's who has started marketing the product in India extensively.

The use of block work allows structures to be built in the traditional masonry style with layers or courses of overlapping blocks. These cement hollow blocks are widely used for building infrastructure and require low maintenance. High dimensional accuracy and consistent finish make these blocks an ideal building material for both load bearing constructions as well as partition walls. These concrete hollow blocks are a better substitute to work faster to build a structure long lasting value.

Thermal Insulation
A typical production process and product description is shown below
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
The concept of insulated building is not new in India as there are number of green buildings which are rated as environment-friendly with LEED certifications. Insulated building material such as auto cleaved aerated concrete blocks or STYROFOAM (XPS) sheet insertion in between the cavity walls is widely practiced in India. However, the Insulating property of thermal blocks are far superior to aerated blocks, as it provides 4 times more insulation in terms of “K Value – Thermal Conductivity.” Though this value may not be the total parameter for an Architect/Engineer for the design of an energy efficient building, it forms one of the important key factors along with other material characteristics like block density, strength, ambient temperatures etc.

While specifying the most efficient materials and fittings, there are three ratings used for estimating heat loss/gain: the K rating, the R value, and the U value.
  • K Value – the lower the better (Thermal conductivity)
  • R value - the higher the better (Thermal resistance)
  • U value - the lower the better (Thermal Transmittance)
The difference in thermal performance between seemingly similar products can be dramatic, which is why it's so important to keep an eye on the R and U values. Normal 250 mm thermal concrete blocks have an R of 1.75 while an Aerated block will have an R of 0.46. A wall built of thermal concrete blocks will therefore insulate 4 times as much heat as a wall built of AAC blocks.

A brief comparison chart is shown below
Properties Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Block Dow’s STYROFOAM (XPS) Inserted Thermal Concrete Block
"K" Thermal Conductivity at 35°C and 60% R.H. 0.134 W/m.k° 0.037 W/m.k°
"R" Thermal resistance 0.46 M^2 K/W 1.75 m^2 K/W
Water Absorption Low Low
Average STYROFOAM (XPS) Density N/A 26 kg/m^3
"U" Thermal Transmittance Value 2.13 W/m^2 K 0.36 W/m^2 K
Compressive strength of the Blocks 3-4 N/mm^2 7.5-10 N/mm^2
Density 550-650 Kg/mm^3 1400-1500 Kg/mm^3
Fire Resistance High High

Any good builder should be able to calculate the R and U values for you and can advise you about the relative costs of different insulation options for achieving the lowest heat loss.

Advantages and limitations for usage of thermal blocks in walls
  • Provides guaranteed consistent insulation value
  • Permits excess moisture to escape
  • Allows easy installation of pipes, conduits, etc.
  • Improves dew point
  • Improves sound resistance
  • Eliminates concern of shrinkage, toxic fumes or odours
  • Improves the ability of blocks to resist wind driven rain.
  • Can be used above or below grade
The Insulate Wall System, like conventional concrete masonry units insulated with STYROFOAM (XPS), saves job site labour costs simply because all units are delivered with insulation already in the blocks. Construction of walls is exactly like normal concrete blocks – same mortar, same manpower & same productivity. No extra glues, chemicals, fixing materials or special fixtures. In addition:
  • No lost time or rework if inspection rejects the quality of on-site workmanship
  • Work by other trades is performed with little danger of damage to insulation
  • The block itself can be used as a bond beam or lintel eliminating the need to deliver several different types of blocks to the job site.
  • The actual cost of insulation is a firm figure, as compared to estimated values used when insulation material is site installed where labour efficiency may vary and where losses may be sustained due to damage or theft
Limitations: As is the case with Dow's STYROFOAM (XPS) product, it should not be exposed to temperatures in excess of 110°F for prolonged periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions on Thermal Blocks

1. Is it very costly?
It is a very cost effective product, due to the nature of the properties; the product is costlier than masonry hollow block. When one considers long-term benefits thermo block is value for money and one time investment and lifelong savings. A thermal block of 400X250X200 mm may cost 80 - 90 (INR) in Mumbai Region

2. What about the compressive strength?
The Thermal block has the same compressive strength of a normal 8" Hollow Blocks Thermal Blocks are very well designed to give optimum insulation as well as mechanical strength.

3. Will not STYROFOAM (XPS) catch fire easily?
Since it is enclosed on all four sides by concrete mortar joints and is sandwiched between 62.5 mm thick concrete plates, no flame due to electrical short circuiting can spread in that air tight cell. As a material, Dow STYROFOAM (XPS) is classified as B1 class building Material when tested in accordance with German DIN 4102 Standards.

4. The handling of block may be delicate?
The block is very robust and due to the high shearing strength of STYROFOAM (XPS), it is very difficult to separate the insert from the block. It requires bare minimum handling care and the blocks should not be thrown around but handled in a proper way. It can be easily handled by SRS Finlay clamps/grab units.

5. What is the life of a polystyrene insert?
STYROFOAM (XPS) will easily outlast concrete as it is not bio-degradable.

6. What about water absorption?
Since the thermal block is basically a normal concrete block, the water absorption characteristics are the same as a normal concrete block. Also STYROFOAM (XPS) has very negligible water absorption characteristics as per DIN 53428.

7. What is the effect of termites, vermin & other types of insects and is Polystyrene harmful?

Facts about STYROFOAM (EPX) Insulated Blocks
• STYROFOAM (XPS) is the best available insulation material at present for usage in walls & roofs all over the world.
• The insulation properties are very superior if the STYROFOAM (XPS) is integrated into concrete at wet stage moulding/casting to have good bonding and avoid air gaps pockets to eliminate any chance for condensation.
• Researched data proves that ‘STYROFOAM (XPS) inserted’ concrete blocks are the most cost effective in terms of Thermal insulation as against Cavity wall, clay wall, autoclaved brick wall, Cavity wall with STYROFOAM (XPS) sheet and other type of insulation.

Dow's STYROFOAM (XPS) poses no health hazards and it is immune to insects, pests, plants and micro organisms.

8. What about end blocks (at the openings. E.g. doors, windows)?
Suitable end block designs can be developed.

9. What about continuity of insulation because of mortar joints?
Thermal Insulation continuity without any thermal bridge can be made. But it should be pointed out that in other Middle East countries full mortar across the faces & sides is applied and the thermal bridge loss is very much within acceptable limits.

NBMCW July 2011

Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please provide your details we will contact you as soon as possible
Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your State.
Please let us know your Country.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please let us know your email address.
Please brief your query.

Maximum lifting capacity on four axles – Liebherr unveils the new LTM 1120 4.1

Liebherr has unveiled its new LTM 1120-4.1 at the CONEXPO in Las Vegas using the slogan “There’s nothing more on 4!” It is the most powerful 4-axle all-terrain crane ever built. The new 135 US ton (120 t) machine breaks into a performance Read More ...

Comansa launches 21CM750 - the largest crane manufactured at its plant in Hangzhou

Comansa launched its new 21CM750 crane at Hangzhou, which it will start manufacturing at its factory in China for the Asian market, which is looking at heavier load cranes. The launch was attended by over hundred guests, and included the leader Read More ...

Latest innovations by AMCS technologies

The company, specialized in anti-collision safety systems for lifting equipment will reveal its latest innovations on booth F101211. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover several world previews on AMCS technologies Read More ...

SINOBOOM exhibits range of high-quality access equipment

SINOBOOM has recently launched the largest articulating boom lift in the world - the GTZZ46J - which is being supplied to companies active in the petrochemical sector. On display (at its booth BL240 located in the Blue Lot) Read More ...

WOLFFKRAN presents WOLFF 166 B US hydraulic luffing jib crane

After the successful introduction of WOLFF luffing and saddle jib cranes with middle to high lift capacities for the US market, WOLFFKRAN is now following suit with one of its smaller luffing jib cranes - the WOLFF 166 B Read More ...

Haulotte exhibits its all-round expertise

Haulotte showcases new products, new technologies, and environmental issues at its booth F-6134 (Festival Lot). It will display a brand new telescopic boom for the first time to the global market, in addition with the HA61 LE (HA20 LE) Read More ...

6 new Manitowoc cranes debut

Manitowoc Cranes to unveil six new cranes to the lifting market at Booth F6144 in the new Festival Lot near the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. In addition to these, four other crane models that were introduced Read More ...

Comansa presents new models and technologies for North American market

Tower crane manufacturer Comansa's stand F5803 in the Festival Grounds outdoors area is showcasing its LCL310 luffing-jib crane, specifically its 18-ton maximum load version. Its maximum jib length is 60 metres, and the different Read More ...

Liebherr celebrates 50th anniversary; exhibits extensive range of latest construction & material handling equipment

Liebherr is showcasing an extensive selection of equipment at its outdoor booth #F5258 covering more than 53,000 ft2 (4,900 m²) of space for its material handlers, tower cranes, mobile and crawler cranes, hydraulic excavators Read More ...

Alpha Services

Alpha has been developing new solutions and evolving its product portfolio for the last 35 years. Our current range includes EOT Cranes, Goliath Cranes, Transfer Trolleys, Mobile Tower Cranes, Flat Top Tower Cranes and Mobile Read More ...

Kiswire to broaden market presence in CRANE business

South Korean specialty high carbon steel wire products manufacturer ‘Kiswire’ is expanding its business in India, to meet the specialized wire rope requirements used in the new cranes. Not only are they OEM suppliers to many international Read More ...

ACE Tower Cranes riding the Prefabrication Wave in India

Prefabrication Construction is playing a vital role in building the infrastructure of India. Globally, this innovative concept has been significantly adopted by the Construction Industry, with Burj Khalifa and Sydney Read More ...

Escorts’s CT Smart 15 - India’s safest and compact Pick-n-Carry Crane

Escorts Construction Equipment (ECE), the construction and material handling equipment manufacturing arm of Escorts Limited has developed India’s safest and compact Pick-n-Carry Crane - CT Smart 15 crane which has unique anti-toppling Read More ...

Rough Terrain Cranes - Moving Towards Higher Capacities

The infrastructure sector is witnessing many complex and huge projects that require heavy lifting jobs. In view of this, rough terrain crane manufacturers are coming up with products that have higher lifting capacities and more Read More ...

Malaysian developer Gamuda adds three Potain MCT 385 cranes to its fleet

Malaysian equipment rental company Megah-Sewa is adding three Potain MCT 385 cranes to its fleet for the first time. Megah Sewa is the plant and equipment subsidiary of Gamuda, the largest infrastructure development company in Malaysia Read More ...

Spartan launches new range of hoists and concreting solutions

Exports to 10 countries worldwide, 7000 plus machines on site every year, 150 plus well trained engineers and technicians, 20 national & international awards, 4000 plus satisfied customers and many more such milestones Read More ...
NBM&CW

New Building Material & Construction World

New Building Material & Construction World
MGS Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture
L&ST

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Lifting & Specialized Transport
II&TW

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week