Influence of climate
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Influence of climate

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Learn about climate factors such as moisture, heat, microbiological activity and humidity and how they affect Ecophon ceilings and grids.

The core material in all Ecophon tiles is glass wool that has been treated to be water-repellent. Therefore, the material does not take up water by capillary action and the absorption of moisture from the air is relatively low. Water that occasionally may penetrate the tiles (e.g. in conjunction with cleaning) dries out quickly thanks to the open structure of the glass wool material.

 

Functional demands, Influence of climate, illustration

1. Deflection of ceiling tiles that are deformed after absorbing moisture.

2. Glass wool is one of the materials most resistant to moisture. Thus, glass wool ceiling tiles are dimensionally stable and stay flat even in environments with high or varying air humidity.

Also Ecophon Connect grids and accessories are developed to withstand high humidity.

Note

  • Ecophon products should be stored indoors. If, temporarily, they have to be stored outdoors, they need to be protected against moisture.

  • If the tiles are to be glued, the temperature must be 10-25°C during installation.

  • The panels do have a thermal resistance. This may influence the temperature and the relative humidity in the room and in the plenum, and should therefore be considered in the moisture and thermo-technical design. Ventilating the plenum will prevent condensation. 

Temperature, absolute humidity and relative humidity (RH)

The relative air humidity varies depending on the time of year, temperature and climatic zone.

Relative humidity RH, expressed in %, is the ratio of the actual amount of moisture in the air to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at a given temperature. A relative humidity of 100% means the air can hold no more water, i.e. condensation forms, and a relative humidity of 0% indicates there is no moisture in the air.

At high relative humidity, there is a serious risk of condensation, because of the temperature difference over the ceiling. At 95% RH and 30°C, a temperature drop of only 1°C will cause condensation. The presence of liquid water might have many undesired effects, such as stains from water-soluble substances on the visible surface of the ceiling.

There is a physical relationship between absolute humidity, temperature and relative humidity. The warmer the air, the more water vapour it can hold. In other words - a certain absolute humidity means a lower relative humidity at a high temperature than at a low. (See graph).

 

Functional demands, Influence of climate, illustration

1. Absolute humidity (g/m3)

2. Temperature (°C)

3. RH

Relationship between temperature, absolute humidity and relative humidity.

Ceiling design for humid areas

In order to minimise the risk of problems with corrosion, mould and aesthetic performance in a building, the relative humidity should not exceed 70-80% more than temporarily. In any case, it is not comfortable for people to be in environments with any higher relative humidity than this. In comparison, the average relative humidity in a rain forest is 75-90%.

When moisture is increased, as in professional kitchens, swimming pool facilities, shower areas or food preparation industries, the air humidity can rise substantially and occasionally reach saturation which means condensation forms. The indoor climate in such rooms should therefore be carefully surveyed before the ceiling systems are installed.

Moisture tests

Ecophon does not present higher values than 95% RH at 30°C due to technical and physical limitations in the testing methods. The fact is, that if the RH exceeds 95%, the moisture equilibrium is extremely sensitive also to very small climate variations in the testing chamber. For each specific material, the moisture content can be shown in a sorption curve. The sorption curve is very steep at high RH, and a hysteresis effect exists. The moisture content in the material is therefore unpredictable. Thus, attempts to carry out tests at a relative humidity >95% will fail, as the relative humidity will be unstable and hence give results that are not reliable. Leading testing institutes, such as SP (Swedish National Testing and Research Institute) and TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) cannot perform tests with sufficient accuracy at RH>95%.

Sorption isotherm

Functional demands, Influence of climate, illustration

1. Moisture content

2. Relative humidity (%)

3. Hysteresis effect

EN ISO 12944-2 deals with the classification of the principal environments to which steel structures are exposed. All Ecophon Connect grids and accessories can withstand a C1 environment according to this standard. The tests are done according to NORDTEST-method NT MAT 003. This test is considered to be more accurate and tougher but resembles more realistic conditions than the test method in EN ISO 12944-2. In the standard EN 13964 - Suspended ceilings, corrosion is classified according to the protection of steels. However, there is no correlation with the standard EN ISO 12944-2 and the environments mentioned there.

The Connect C3 grid system has an extra anti-corrosion protection, which makes the products withstand a C3 environment.

Extreme environments and micro-organisms

Sustained high temperatures and/or air humidity or environments with aggressive gases or other substances may affect the ceiling systems´ appearance and properties.

In cases where regular washing or hosing of the ceiling is necessary specially designed systems, Ecophon Hygiene, should be used. In these environments, and in environments with high air humidity grid systems with additional corrosion protection, Ecophon Connect C3, should also be installed.

The risk of mould and bacteria is an important consideration in environments with high relative humidity. Ecophon products themselves do not serve as a natural breeding media for mould and bacteria. By keeping the environment of the ceiling clean, and having a controlled climate below the critical humidity and temperature level, the risk for these micro-organisms is reduced considerably.

Mould and bacteria need special growing conditions

Functional demands, Influence of climate, illustration

1. Moisture

2. Right temperature

3. Growth media

= Risk for mould and bacteria 

Ecophon tiles are tested for microbiological growth according to the following standards:

  • ASTM G 21-96
  • ISO 846 (method C)
  • EN 13697.

ASTM G21-96

The standard is aimed at assessing theresistance of materials to degradationby molds. The test material is placed on a carbon source with a mix of five molds. The molds are:

  • Aspergillus niger
  • Penicillium pinophilum
  • Chaetomium globosum
  • Gliocladium virens
  • Aureobasidium pullulans

The same carbon source that the test material is placed on is also spread on the surface. The test material is incubated at 28°C, > 95% RH for 28 days.

Mold growth is visually evaluated according to the following scale:

0 = no growth
1 = traces of growth, surface coverage < 10 %
2 = light growth, surface coverage between < 10-30 %
3 = medium growth, surface coverage between < 30-60 %
4 = heavy growth, surface coverage between > 60 %

Mold growth indicates that the tested material is a carbon source for mold and can be degraded by them. The Ecophon Hygiene tiles are in class 0 which means no growth.

ISO 846 (method C)

The standard s aimed at assessing material resistance to degradation by bacteria. The material is covered by a carbon source and inoculated with bacteria:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

The samples are incubated at 28°C for 28 days.

Any growth indicates that the tested material is a carbon source for bacteria and could be degraded by it.

EN 13697

The standard is designed to evaluate the efficiency of disinfecting chemicals. Dr. Brill and Steinmann institute for hygiene and microbiology in Germany has adjusted the test method to apply it on glass wool tiles, to examine how the material effects the efficiency of a disinfection chemical i.e. – are the microorganisms killed after disinfection of the surface. The test microorganism is exposed to the Ecophon product which is thereafter disinfected by Incidine active (peracetic acid).

The result showed a ≥3 log reduction for the following microorganisms:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterococcus hirae
  • Escherichia coli
  • Candida albicans
  • Aspergillus brasiliensis

which according to Dr. Brill and Steinmann institute for hygiene and microbiology is sufficient for the hygiene-relevant areas the disinfectable Ecophon Hygiene products are designed for.

Vocabulary - Influence of climate

Uniform corrosion: Uniform corrosion is characterized by corrosive attack proceeding evenly over the entire surface area, or a large fraction of the total area.  

Pitting corrosion: Pitting corrosion, or pitting, is a form of extremely localized corrosion that leads to the creation of small holes in the metal.  

Crevice corrosion: Crevice corrosion is a corrosion occurring in spaces to which the access of the working fluid from the environment is limited. These spaces are generally called crevices. Examples of crevices are spaces under gaskets or seals, inside cracks and seams.

Stress corrosion: Stress corrosion is a corrosion of normally ductile metals subjected to a tensile stress in a corrosive environment, especially at elevated temperature.

 

Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon AB
No.1 Shale Road
N1 Business Park
Cnr. Old Johannesburg & Tlokwa RoadsKosmosdal Ext.
Samrand 0157, P.O. Box 700, Germiston 1400, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0) 12 657 2958
E-mail: ecophonsa@saint-gobain.com

Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon AB
No.1 Shale Road
N1 Business Park
Cnr. Old Johannesburg & Tlokwa RoadsKosmosdal Ext.
Samrand 0157, P.O. Box 700, Germiston 1400, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0) 12 657 2958
E-mail: ecophonsa@saint-gobain.com