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Building Insulation 2040BIEN1003 December 2003

Insulation Theory

Insulate for life

Energy saving and economics of insulation Insulation Economy Structural design 4-5 6-8 9-12 13-18 19-26 27-28 29-33 34-43 44-57 58

Making Far-reaching Choices

Insulation makes good economic sense as it reduces energy consumption in buildings. Insulation as a single investment pays for itself many times over during the life cycle of a building. Reduced energy consumption also benefits the environment. This information is common knowledge in the EU. The EU has already passed the Energy Performance Directive that requires the member states to adopt new practices to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. We are well prepared for the increasing requirements. The unique properties of stone and the extreme Nordic weather conditions have inspired us to develop economically and ecologically rewarding, safe and sound insulation solutions. Stone wool, made from natures own stone, is extremely fire resistance, durable and reliable choice for protecting lives and property. We are happy to share our knowledge in this Insulation theory, which has become something of an institution and has already guided generations of builders in the field. We hope that you find this material useful in designing high quality insulation solutions, which will meet the requirements in the years to come.

Heat Moisture Frost Ground insulation Fire Acoustics CE marking

Insulation Theory
Designing safe and sound insulation structures requires knowledge from all fields of building physics. Here the concepts and fundamental functions related to insulation material are presented. The content is divided into the following:

Energy saving and economics of insulation

Insulation is a powerful mean in reducing energy consumption. Economically optimal insulation can be calculated and it is often much thicker than is stipulated in the regulations.

Constructive design
Four principles to follow in carrying out the construction to avoid the risk of unnecessarily high energy consumption and damp damage.

Fundamental definitions of heat followed with the heat transfer mechanism of insulation material and the calculation of thermal transmittance for building components

Fundamental definitions and terms and a number of calculation examples in addition to a list of practical tips in order to minimise the risk of moisture in buildings.

The occurrence of frost and how to reduce or prevent its build up by using insulation.

Ground insulation
The use of stone wool as insulation of constructions to the ground with one side warmed up. The chapter is referring to experiences from different follow up of damages in buildings.

Fundamental terms in addition to the classification system applied to the materials and buildings. Finally, the section includes graphs, which facilitate the establishment of dimensions for fire insulation in different types of constructions.

This part gives a theoretical description of acoustics and the function of stone wool for different usage in buildings. Typical values for stone wool are given. It also refers to common European standards regarding absorption and sound reduction.

CE marking
In this part a short description of the European regulations for marking of mineral wool is given. What does it mean and what kind of quality control is promised?


Energy saving and economics of insulation

Energy economising and thermal insulation make up the Principal requirement of the EU Building Commodities Directive. The EU Commission has therefore chosen to set out the importance of constructing buildings with a view to the need for good energy saving and consequently to a good standard of thermal insulation. This has been done after seeing the consequences of the escalating energy prices of recent years and with increased awareness of our global environmental problems.

Energy saving
National regulations stipulate the minimum requirements so as to limit the need for heating energy in buildings. The aim is to achieve good energy economy. But what is good energy economy? Who is it good for? For the homeowner? For the tenant? For the community? There is no conflict here. If the most personally favourable thickness is chosen (the thickness that in common terms is called optimal thickness), it appears that it is generally thicker than is stipulated in the regulations. Furthermore it provides a more comfortable indoor climate and above all is more energy efficient as seen from societys perspective when environmental considerations are increasingly being taken into account. The most favourable insulation must be calculated based on a particular lifetime for the building. The insulation does not wear out, does not require maintenance and does not require replacing. A lifetime of 50 years is normally reckoned for insulation that is to match the estimated working life for the building. However, this is much too short. If the structure has been correctly designed, there will be nothing to affect the insulation when it is in place. It will have the intended insulating effect for as long as it is in place and we do not know the age of a piece of insulation. In practice, the lifetime is unlimited. Therefore, the lifecycle analysis for stone wool insulated structure proves that a significantly greater amount of insulation should be used than that which is stipulated in the regulations. Therefore, it is important that proper insulation is fitted with a view to the future when new construction or renovation will be carried out. Seen over the lifetime of the building, there are hardly any measures that increase energy efficiency that are as favourable to the homeowner as effective insulation.

Even if a better insulation standard than that required by the regulations were to increase costs, it is still a very inexpensive measure in relation to its efficiency. The extra costs can be viewed as a very inexpensive insurance policy against what will occur in the future. It makes good economic sense to bear in mind rising energy prices, so that making further investments in additional insulation in the future can be avoided. It can be said that choosing a high insulation standard is a favourable insurance policy against future rises in energy prices.
Total environmental balance for stone wool insulation
Positive contribution Negative contribution


1 Manufacture Usage stage Figure 1 Demolition

Environmental concerns
How does insulation affect our environment? Does the manufacture and transportation of insulation lead to significant environmental damage? How is the insulation finally dealt with after demolition? The use of thermal insulation has a very positive effect on the environment. Manufacture, including the extraction of raw materials, transportation and assembly have a negative environmental effect that is compensated for during the first year in which the insulation is used. It is usually said that the environmental usefulness is several hundred times greater than the environmental stress. If the total lifetime of the building is considered, operation and maintenance equate to approx. 85 % of the total environmental strain. Totally overwhelming is the amount energy required for heat and hot water. Approx. 15 % comes from the manufacturing process and less than 1 % from the demolition. It is easy to show that investing in extra insulation will pay for itself many times over when taking into account the environmental strain over the entire lifecycle. And this additional insulation is motivated on purely personal economic grounds.
The total environmental strain of a building
Normal insulation Increased insulation

Optimal insulation
Traditionally we have calculated the economical optimal thickness for different structures in a building. In this case, the fact that building costs will rise when insulation is increased is taken into consideration. But at the same time the annual energy consumption will decrease without there being any outlay for maintenance. A schematic example is shown here for a traditional attic joist floor where the economic thickness is normally around 0.50 m. This is found where the curve has its minimum point, simply expressed as the lowest annual expenditure for building and energy costs.

Environment Economy







Optimal thickness in m Figure 3

Manufacture Usage stage Figure 2


The diagram also suggests the location of an environmentally optimal insulation thickness. The curve represents the sum of the environmental influences upon construction and for annual operation. The environmentally optimal insulation thickness for the attic joist floor is an unrealistic 2.5 m. It is mainly due to the fact that the additional effects on the environment when the thickness increases originate almost entirely from the insulation itself. The calculation shows that an investment in insulation thicknesses in excess of normal thicknesses will also lead to an investment in our environment.

The house as an energy system

If we were to construct a house that satisfied the requirements for optimal energy economising we should be looking at the bigger picture and not just the individual parts. It often proves to be the case that extra insulation will allow a slightly simpler heating system to be chosen. For example, it must be appreciated that the various components in a building have different lifetimes. We recommend that the effects that different insulation standards have on the choice of heating system in the house be examined at an early stage.


Insulation Economy
Heating and running of buildings contribute to approximately 40 % of the total energy consumption in Europe. There is therefore great potential to reduce the energy consumption. Especially important is that at times of new construction adequate insulation standards are used. Even when renovating, you should consider which constructions ought to be additionally insulated. The following includes a calculation to estimate the economical insulation thickness. This method is used for economically optimal insulation thickness in the tables that show the association to the construction solutions in the table. The SC method provides the insulation level that leads the lowest annual expense with the chosen calculation prerequisites. The minimum point is fairly flat that means that the annual costs only increase marginally if you chose a slightly higher insulation standard. You can say that there is a low premium to ensure against future extreme energy price increase.

The important condition

By 2006 each Member State of the EU must implement the Energy Performance Directive for Buildings into the national legislation. This significantly changes the way the building regulations stipulate for the energy use in buildings. The new regulation will be based on the total energy consumption of a building taking into consideration the thermal losses through the envelope, ventilation losses and heat recovery gains, solar and other gains as well as tap water generation, cooling by means of air conditioning systems etc. However, reduced energy consumption in a private building may only take place under the conditions of a properly insulated climate shield. Only then, it will be possible to have full usage of efficient installations for the production of energy. A high insulation standard for floors, walls, roof and windows does not only mean lower energy consumption. It will also reduce the power need and makes the heating period shorter. It improves the conservation of existing free energy and creates conditions for simpler heating systems. A high insulation standard is an investment with very good profitability for unlimited time. There is no requirement for running costs or maintenance.

SC Method

SC stands for saving costs. The SC method means that you compare the costs of saving energy - the saving cost - with the current price of energy. Step by step, the thickness of the insulation is increased and you can calculate the marginal saving cost. As long as it is lower than the current energy price, the insulation measure is profitable. The savings cost - SC may be calculated using the following formula: SC = I EUR/kWh B

I = increased investment cost (EUR/m2) B = energy saving per year (kWh/m2) The energy saving may be calculated B = U Q where U is the improvement of the U value and Q is the thermal consumption figure for the actual area in approximately 1000 degree hours/year. = is the correction figure, which takes into consideration the life span (n), the real energy price increase (q), desired real return on the investment (r) and is calculated using the following formula. = 1+q 1 tn ;t= 1+r 1t

n = life span (years)

Note that if the formula should be applied for a measure that demands maintenance, for example waste heat recovery, the I also contains the current value of the annual expenses for maintenance.

Example. Below we indicate how to calculate economical thermal insulation for a building. As an example, we have chosen a detached house in the middle of Sweden with a loft made of wood, insulated with Paroc loose wool. It is normally performed using an optimising calculation on the computer.

Average and marginal saving costs

The financial benefit of each extra centimetre of insulation decreases with thickness. It is profitable to increase the thickness of the insulation until the last centimetre fulfils the return requirement. That is to say, until the savings exceed the cost. Using the marginal saving cost SCmarg you can calculate the consequences of gradual increases of thickness. For the maximum financial benefit, the SCmarg should be the same as the current energy price. This determines the financial optimal thickness of the insulation. Since the optimal thickness is decided, you may find the total profitability of the measure by calculating the average saving cost - SCaverage. NOTE! For profitable insulation measures, the SCaverage is always lower than the SCmarg. This generally also applies to: SCmarg dimensions the insulation thickness SCaverage describes profitability.

Figure 4: Wooden joists.

Conditions for calculation: Current energy price Real interest, r Real annual energy price increase Life span, n Heat consumption figure, Q Investment in order to increase the thickness of the insulation by 1 cm , calculated using the above rate of interest energy price increase and life span D for insulation

0.60 SEK/kWh 4% 2% 50 years 110 103 K h/year 3 SEK

32.4 0.042 W/m K

The following thermal resistance may be applied in the calculations

Construction Surface transfer resistance + outer roof + inner covering d2 = 170 mm Loose wool, 5 % rule share d1* Loose wool without wood frame R m2 K/W 0.47

3.85 d1 0.042

* Increased successively until economical thickness is achieved.

We have chosen to start the calculation from an insulation thickness of 170 + 50 mm. It provides an Up value of 0.205 W/m2 K. With an increase in insulation standard by 20 mm the investment increases by 6.00 SEK/m2. At the same time, the U value drops by 0.018 W/m2 K.


The energy saving will be as follows: B = U Q = 0.018 110 = 1.98 kWh/m2 With the aid of the energy saving, the investment difference and other conditions, the above will be: SCmarg = I 100 B = 6.0 100 1.98 32.4 = 0.0935 SEK/kWh
Area (Sweden) Kiruna Arjeplog Pite Lycksele stersund Hrnsand Falun Gvle rebro Nykping Visby Kalmar Gteborg Malm

Temperature inside the house 18 C 156 150 140 131 122 111 109 103 98 95 89 88 82 79 20 C 175 166 155 146 136 123 121 114 109 106 99 98 91 88 22 C 194 182 170 161 150 135 133 125 120 117 109 108 100 97

The measure is profitable since the SCmarg < 0.60 SEK/kWh The corresponding calculation is completed for every increase in insulation thickness for the SCmarg, until it exceeds the applicable energy price. The increase in thickness is chosen according to the standard thickness so that the step will be 20 30 mm. According to this calculation, it will become apparent that the optimal insulation thickness today is approximately 650 mm for the construction in question. The average savings cost is determined by calculating the total step from 220 to 650 mm insulation thickness. B = U 110 = (0.205 0.093) 110 = 12.3 kWh/m2 SCaverage = I 100 B = 38 3 100 12.3 32.4 = 0.29 SEK/kWh

Table 5: Heat consumption figure Q at different temperatures inside the house.

The measures are very profitable since SCaverage < 0.60 SEK/kWh.


Structural design
When planning, it is important that the house is looked at in its entirety and not just by the performance of the individual components. Even if the calculation of the heat losses has been carried out correctly in theory, there is no guarantee that the result will agree with the actual outcome. Construction must be carried out in a professional way. This means that the work must be performed both correctly and accurately. If the material and the construction are both perfect, there will be a certain safety margin in relation to the calculated value. But any errors in the execution of the work or faults in the finished structure can affect both the insulating efficiency and durability. The following points are particularly important to consider in order for the work to be performed correctly and accurately:

Air and vapour barriers The building must have an airtight layer, a so-called air and vapour barrier, on the inside of the structure. The layer must not only prevent the transfer of moisture from the inside to the outside, but should above all make the structure airtight. A structure that is not airtight will result in higher energy consumption and there will be a risk of damage due to damp and mould within the structure. In addition, draughts can cause discomfort. Installation of insulation Thermal insulation must fill up the whole of its space. There must be no air gaps. It is particularly important to avoid air gaps on the warm side of the insulation. If the insulation does not fill up the whole of its space, air can begin to circulate, a convection that can seriously decrease the intended insulation efficiency. Wind protection When the air moves behind the facade, it is important that it cannot penetrate the primary insulation or the gaps around the insulation. Therefore, there must be wind protection in place to prevent this. The wind protection must be adapted to the insulation material, the faade material and the entire structure. Ventilated air space There should normally be an air space that is ventilated by outdoor air behind a faade layer or under a large number of roof coverings. The air space allows the moisture that comes in from the outside to be ventilated away. It also functions as an extra safety device if any part of the inside of the structure has not been made airtight. Certain structures with totally airtight exteriors - e.g. warm roofs and sandwich structures - do not require an air space.

It is important that these four principles are followed when construction is carried out, otherwise there will be a risk of unnecessarily high energy consumption and in the worst case damp damage may result. There now follows some advice and tips for each of the points. If you follow the recommendations the building will function correctly!
Air and vapour barriers

A modern house must be airtight in order for the ventilation to function as intended. Therefore, an air and vapour barrier is required, this will operate during the entirety of the lifetime of the house. Normally a plastic sheeting is built into the structure, which is placed on the warm side of the insulation. Other materials, such as concrete, can provide airtightness.

Overpressure inside: Air is forced out

Underpressure inside: Air is taken in

Figure 6


A correctly functioning air and vapour barrier is particularly important when there is too much pressure indoors. This occurs nearly always at the top of the building during the winter. If the attic joist floor is not airtight, heat and damp air can penetrate their way into the structure and condense.The consequences can be serious mould damage. In addition, if the insulation is not kept dry, its insulating properties will be reduced. Moisture convection, moisture that accompanies air when it penetrates into a structural component, is much more dangerous than moisture diffusion, that is moisture which is transferred due to differences in vapour content. Airtightness is therefore very important. But the barrier should also prevent vapour diffusion into the structure. Otherwise water vapour can condense and cause damage. The driving force for diffusion is highest during the winter since moisture will flow into the building from people and from activities. The barrier must then be placed on the inside in order to be effective. If it is placed on the outside, it will have almost the opposite effect to that intended. In this case the moisture will condense on the barrier. It is sometimes stated that a vapour barrier on the inside can cause damage during warm, rainy summer days when the diffusion drives the moisture from the outside to the inside of the structure. However a large number of investigations show that these fears are exaggerated. It is the driving forces during the winter that must be guarded against. The air and vapour barrier is usually a 0.2 mm PE foil that satisfies national standards for ageing resistance. Joints must be kept to a minimum and be as well sealed as possible. A lot of damage has been reported from buildings where the construction has been made knowingly permeable in order to allow it to breathe. Paroc would most definitely warn against such solutions. Be careful when constructing the air and vapour barrier. The most critical points are Connections between different building components Routings for pipes, electrical points or ventilation devices Joins in the barrier


Place an airtight layer, e.g. a 0.2 mm PE foil on the inside of the insulation to prevent air leakage and vapour diffusion If possible place the installations on the inside of the plastic foil Think about making all joins and routings airtight. Use durable tape, adhesive, caulking compound or other special arrangements Pack and seal large gaps On roofs made of concrete or light concrete the barrier is to protect against building moisture. Low-sloping unventilated roofs on supporting sheets should always be constructed using an air and vapour barrier on the sheet. This becomes particularly important if the activity on the premises markedly increases the moisture content of the air Plastic foil must not be used in structural components that are in direct contact with the ground, e.g. basement outer walls, basement floors or slabs on the ground The ground usually has higher moisture content than the internal air. Therefore, the majority of the insulation should be laid on the outside and the underside respectively. If insulation is used on the inside, an effective vapour barrier should be placed under the insulation for slabs on the ground or basement floors. A vapour barrier is not to be used for an inverted insulated basement wall. Wood must not be in contact with the supporting elements.


Installation of insulation
The construction of an insulating material with cells or a lattice of fibres causes the air to move and the heat transfer will thereby be significantly reduced. Therefore, it is important that the insulation completely fills out the intended space. Otherwise the air can begin to move through the gaps and spaces. Since warm air is lighter than cool air, the air works along an outer wall after rising along the warm side of the insulation and sinking down the cool exterior. These driving forces increase as the temperature difference across the insulation increases. In a roof the air will move through the structure. It is therefore important to avoid spaces, cavities, gaps or other imperfections in the insulation and in particular on the warm side. If cool external air is allowed to reach the inside of the insulation, the insulation has been shortcircuited.


Be careful to cut the insulation so that it fits. Be careful when assembling so that the insulation completely fills out the space for which it is intended. Stone wool must be cut to be slightly larger in length and width. No air spaces between the insulation and the surrounding surfaces. Insulation in several layers must be assembled with offset joints where this is possible. The air and vapour barrier and the insulation must lie close against each other. If there is a thin panel in the roof, for example, the barrier is to be placed on top of this.

Wind protection
The wind protection must prevent air that moves behind a faade or an external wall from ruining the thermal insulation capabilities of the insulation. Therefore the air that moves parallel to the insulation is to be protected against using the wind protection, the air and vapour barrier will deal with air movement through the structure. The requirement for wind protection depends on the size of the air movements to be expected behind the faade layer. A well-walled brick faade will provide significantly lower air movements than a wooden panel, for example. High buildings provide greater air movements than low buildings and buildings exposed to the wind provide greater air movements than buildings protected against the wind. Particularly exposed are the corners of the buildings where the difference in wind pressure between both sides can be great.


Wind protection must not be so airtight against vapour diffusion that it prevents moisture that has come into the structure from evaporating outwards. Be particularly careful with wind protection at the corners of the building. There must be no unnecessary joins here. Follow the instructions in the recommendations, which can be gathered from the figures below. They are based on many years experience and are a guarantee for correct functioning. If an alternative solution is chosen, this will be at your own risk. If this should be the case, consult the manufacturer or a recognised expert.



Light stone wool like PAROC UNS 37

Stone wool, minimum PAROC WAS 50 Stone wool, minimum PAROC WAS 25 (30 mm) or PAROC WAS 35 (50, 80 mm)

Optional faade material

Faade layer of facing stone, concrete, etc.

Wind protection of plaster, board, foil or paper

Figure 7

Ventilated air spaces

Behind the faade layer and under the roof coverings there should be a ventilated air space. The purpose of an air space is to ventilate (and in walls also to drain) away any rain water that has penetrated and to prevent it from reaching other moisture sensitive construction components. Furthermore, the space must ventilate away any moisture that comes from within the building. The air space should be at least 20 mm wide and must not be packed with lath or mortar remains. Sandwich structures, concrete elements or so-called industrial roofs or low-sloping roofs do not normally require an air space.


If the faade material has a smooth rear side, nailing battens or similar must not seal the air space. If the edge of the joist must be sealed in order to prevent the risk of fire spreading, air permeable stone wool should be chosen Ensure that you build in good ventilation at the eaves of the attic floor joist and supplement it with ridge ventilation or gable ventilation. Follow the instructions in the recommendations. They are based on many years experience and are a guarantee for correct functioning. If an alternative solution is chosen, this will be at your own risk. If this should be the case, consult the manufacturer or a recognised expert.



Thermal transmission, or the transfer of heat from a warmer body to a colder body may in principal take place in the following ways: 1) Conduction transfer of heat through solid/liquid material. 2) Convection the moving of heat through moving fluid or gas. 3) Radiation transfer of heat by means of electromagnetic waves. Thermal transmission through fixed opaque material only takes place by conduction. Convection and radiation transfer heat in liquids and gases. Thermal transmission in a vacuum is only possible by means of radiation. The materials that are applied as thermal insulation are all porous; part of the material is filled with gas and most often with air. Thermal transmission through traditional insulation material takes place as a result of the conduction, convection and radiation. The thermal insulation capacity of a material is designated by thermal conductivity signified by .

Thermal Conductivity
Thermal transmission may be theoretically calculated starting from the laws of physics, however in practice the calculation is difficult to carry out. Therefore, the thermal conductivity is measured in the various materials. This is defined as a heat amount in Wh per hour h passing through a 1 metre thick layer with an area of 1 m2 and the difference in temperature across the material is 1 C. Figure 8 illustrates this definition and it may be written as a mathematical formula: Whm h m2 K this may be shortened to W/m K. Using this formula, thermal conductivity can be expressed as a figure. This is signified by the Greek character (lambda).

may be used when calculating the amount of heat that has been transported through a certain material over a certain period of time. Example: If two bodies, both with an area of A and with the temperatures t1 and t2 are separated by an insulated material with the thermal conductivity of 1 and the thickness of d, in the time of h, a heat amount of Q is transported through the insulation material. See figure 9. Q= (t2 t1) A h d

Figure 8

The lower the value, the better the insulation quality of the material. Normal insulation materials carry a value of approx. = 0.03 0.04 W/m K (measurements are taken in laboratory conditions where the average temperature is approximately 10 C).

Figure 9



How the structure of the material influences thermal conductivity

Thermal transport

The insulation properties of a material depend on the material density, which in turn is influenced by the porosity of the material. Porosity can be achieved in different ways. When cellular plastics such as XPS, Extruded polystyrene, are used the spaces become sealed due to the porosity. The basic material is entirely connected and rigid. Stone wool has a completely different porosity. The pore volume is continuous and the basic material, the fibres, are in contact with each other only in certain points. In all the other porous materials, the porosity exists in the form somewhere between these two extremes.

If an air gap separates two surfaces of different temperatures, heat will transfer from the warmer surface to the colder. The thermal flow through the air gap per m2 and per hour may be expressed in the following way: air d


(t2 t1)

air consists of three parts: cd = the actual thermal conductivity of air cv = contribution from convection ra = contribution from radiation The value highlighted in Figure 10 applies to a 100 mm air column between wood surfaces or brickwork (not shiny metallic surfaces).

conductivity convection radiation conductivity radiation

Figure 10: Composition of thermal conductivity in Paroc stone wool and the air column.


If a porous insulation material is placed in the air gap, the air gap is divided by either the cell walls or fibres. The convection in the air gap stops almost completely as the air movements are strongly inhibited by dividing the volume. Radiation contribution, which used to be the dominating transmission form, is significantly reduced and there are now many small cells or fibres which transfer radiation at very small differences in temperature. If the insulation material is filled with air, the actual thermal radiation through the air does not change. In addition to the other factors present in the three aforementioned transmission forms, there is now also a contribution to the thermal transfer in the form of thermal conduction through the basic insulation material cell or fibre material. Similar to the case with the convection contribution, the fewer fibres or cells that there are in the insulation material, the smaller the radiation contribution. In order to reduce the total thermal radiation, fibres or cells may be used. On the other hand, a large quantity of insulation material will lead to increased thermal conductivity through the basic material. Therefore, the more fibres there are per mass unit in the fibre material, the better.
Insulation W/m K cd: cv: ra: 0.028 0.000 0.006 0.034 (82 %) (0 %) (18 %) (100 %) Air gap W/m K 0.025 0.116 0.476 0.617 (4%) (19%) (77%) (100 %)

The influence of density on the insulation properties of Paroc stone wool

The following five figures indicate the way in which the insulation properties of Paroc stone wool vary based on density with regard to the four abovementioned contributions to the thermal transfer as well as the overall thermal conductivity.

As a result of the temperature difference, convection may take place in stone wool insulation. It is clear from the figure that the influence of convection is marginal, when the density is 20 kg/m3 or greater. All Paroc products on the market are above this density.
10 W/m K 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00


200 kg/m 3

Figure 11: The effect of convection.

Thermal conduction through air

Thermal conduction through stationary air makes the largest contribution to the total thermal transfer through the insulation material and only varies very little according to density. This is due to the fact that the fibrous material under all conditions represents only a small part of the total volume
10 W/m K 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00


200 kg/m 3

Figure 12: The effect of conductivity in air.




Total thermal transfer

The radiation contribution is strongly dependent on the density of the stone wool and may at lower densities become dominant. Furthermore, it should be noted that a radiation contribution is also dependent on temperature and the radiation contribution increases in higher temperatures.
10 W/m K 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00


200 kg/m 3

If you add the abovementioned contributions to a total thermal transfer, the result will be a graph that presents the thermal conductivity of Paroc stone wool as a function of density. The graph illustrates that the thermal conductivity is at its minimum when the density is approximately 80 kg/m3. However, the minimum level varies depending on the temperature. The above described connection between the thermal conductivity and the density applies to the majority of insulation materials, nevertheless, with different figures. It should be noted that this relation regarding stone wool can also vary, as the fibre orientation can be altered in order to obtain optimal properties for the installation and the compressive strength.
10 W/m K 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00

Figure 13: The effect of radiation.

Thermal conductivity through fibrous materials

As the amount of fibre grows proportionally with the density (for the same fibre diameter), so does the fibre conductivity contribution.
10 W/m K 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00


200 kg/m 3

Figure 15: The relationship between thermal conductivity and density.

value for calculation

0 100 200 kg/m 3

Figure 14: The effect of convection in the fibres.

The graph will look different if the fibre consistency of the material changes.

It is the 10 value, with statistical variations, that is used when calculating the thermal insulating status of a construction. In EN-regulations it is called D, where D stands for declared. EN 10456 describes the way of calculating the D in detail. There may also be national adding, depending on local constructions, for the calculation. Paroc always introduce current D values for the specific products.


Thermal conductivitys dependence on temperature

The thermal conductivity of stone wool increases in accordance with the average temperature. The increase is approximately 0.5 % per C in relation to lighter products, and approximately 0.3 % per C in relation to heavier products, within the temperature range of 0100 C. This depends on the fact that thermal transmission by means of radiation and thermal conductivity through stationary air increase with raising temperature. Convection and fibre conductivity are much less dependent on temperature. The dependence of thermal conductivity on temperature at different densities is illustrated in Figure 16.

W/m K

Average temperature C

450 0.10 400 350 300 250 200 150


W/m K


0.00 50 100 150 200 3 kg/m



Figure 17: value as the function of density and average temperature.



Furthermore, it ought to be noted that the value should always be used in conjunction with a figure showing the average temperature it is measured at. For building insulation thermal conductivity 10 is used, which means that the value is measured at 10 C.
100 200 300 400 500 600 Average temperature C

Figure 16: The dependence of thermal conductivity on temperature at different densities.

The dependence of thermal conductivity on the water content of the insulation material

Figure 17 shows thermal conductivity as a function of both density and average temperature. It is clear from the figure that the -minimum is moved towards higher density when the thermal transfer takes place at a higher temperature. This means that it is advantageous to use the products with higher densities for insulation work in high temperature applications.

If insulation material contains water, this will naturally affect the thermal conductivity of the material. In the manufacturing of Paroc stone wool, water-repellent properties are added to the wool and in practice this has a significant effect on how the stone wool absorbs water. The material will only absorb water when it is pressed in. Experience shows that it is very difficult in any other way to reach a water content that exceeds 0.5 % volume. The amount of water absorbed is minimal. At 95 % of relative air moisture there is hygroscopic water content in stone wool of only 0.004 % volume. The material is open to diffusion and the value, water vapour transfer coefficient is approximately 0.5 mg m/hN. This low figure means that when vapour passes through the insulation layer and cooles down, no condensation takes place. The properties of Paroc stone wool mean that the material may be used as a capillary breaking layer.



W/m K

In order to calculate the thermal transmittance for a structural part (not a window), access to the following is required: EN ISO 6946 Building components and structural parts Thermal resistance and thermal transmittance Calculation methods


EN 12524 Building materials and building products Moisture technical and thermal technical properties Tables with calculated values. EN ISO 10456 Building materials and building products Procedures for the determination of declared and calculable thermal values. Material data from the manufacturer of the thermal insulating material. Note that these data are manufacturer specific. The majority of manufacturers state the corrected thermal transmittance, Uc for the structures that are recommended. If it is decided to use these values, there is no need to carry out your own calculation. However, you will need to check that the manufacturer refers to the correct standard. On the market there also are computerised calculation programmes that simplify the task of calculation for those who wish to carry out their own calculations. When following EN ISO 6946, a U value in W/m2 K will be arrived at. Then a correction is carried out using the three terms that are stated as U values. Information on these is to be found in Appendix D to the standard. Uf is a correction term for extra thermal flow caused by smaller metallic attachments in the structure. The term is often insignificant especially in wooden structures. Ug is a correction term that takes account of normal construction errors incurred when assembly takes place. The standard is general and does not provide sufficient guidance for national structures. Ur is a correction for precipitation and wind that have an additional influence on the heat losses for inverted roofs.

8 10 Moisture content (vol.-%)

Figure 18: value as the function of water content

Limiting heat losses

Thermal resistance

When the material property, D is known, the thermal resistance over the insulating layer can be determined. It is calculated in accordance with EN 6946 from the formula: R = d/ D ; m2 K/W, d = insulation thickness in metres. EN 6946 stipulates how the thermal resistance is calculated for different types of structures. Rsi and Rse, the inner and outer transition resistances in different directions, are also given. Furthermore, the standard describes how different air spaces and other specific details are dealt with. The end result for a structural component is RT The thermal transmittance can then be calculated from U = 1/RT ; W/m2 K

Corrected thermal transmittance for building components

The corrected thermal transmittance, Uc, for a building component is calculated according to the equation below: Uc = U + Uf + Ug + Ur To calculate Uc EN ISO 6946 is used.

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This section firstly deals with a number of terms relating to moisture followed by the moisture properties of stone wool. Moreover, an outline will be given of the different types of moisture that may appear in addition to moisture transport. A few special moisture problems will also be addressed in this section including air tight housing, the relationship between insulation and ventilation, cellar outer wall as well as slab on the ground floor. As much of the international research regarding buildings relates of natural reasons to moisture problems, and hence there is a vast amount of information available on the subject. Information may for example be found in the Moisture handbook from the Moisture group at Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. There are also large quantities of computer programs that facilitate moisture calculations.
Relative humidity

The relative humidity (RH) is also referred to as the relative moisture and is measured using the relationship between the actual moisture content (water vapour pressure) and saturated moisture content (saturated water vapour pressure). RH is expressed as a percentage. The relative humidity is of great significance when determining origins of moisture damage.

The moisture properties of stone wool

The water vapour permeability of stone wool is high in comparison to other building materials. This means that condensation does not take place inside an insulated layer of Paroc stone wool despite the possible drop in temperature across the insulation and even if the so-called dew point falls inside the insulation.

Moisture diffusion

The transportation of water vapour as a result of compensation of steam content or steam pressure. Diffusion is a relatively slow course of events.
Moisture convection

The transportation of water vapour as a result of air movement is a result of differences in air pressure. Convection is a relatively quick process.
Moisture content

The relationship between the total mass of steam and the total volume of the gaseous mixture. Expressed in kg/m3.
Saturated water vapour pressure
Figure 19

The partial pressure for the water vapour in the air may at a certain temperature amount to the certain highest value. This is called the saturated steam pressure and may only be varied by change of temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher the saturated steam pressure.
Saturated water vapour content

The steam content at a certain temperature corresponds to the saturated steam pressure called the saturated steam content. It is also the greatest amount of steam that air may contain at a certain temperature.



Water repellents and hygroscopicity

Water resistance and moisture stability

Every Paroc stone wool product is manufactured in such a way that makes it water repellent. The purpose of repelling water means that water will run off the outside of the Paroc slabs, water will not soak the fibres and will not be absorbed in the wool either. Only if the water is exposed to pressure it may press in the slabs. In this situation, the fibres do not absorb any water. Therefore, drying will take place quickly, not least because of the high water vapour permeability. Paroc stone wool products do not absorb water in a capillary action. Furthermore, they do not absorb moisture from the air other than in small amounts at extreme humidity.

Paroc stone wool products have a very high resistance towards water and moisture. They are made of fibrous material resistant against moisture and have a hardened binder phenol resin, which displays very good moisture stability.

Figure 20

Any insulation material that is in contact with metal may contribute both passively and actively towards corrosion if there is a presence of water or moisture. A passive contribution to corrosion provides insulation material if it binds the water against the exterior of the metal. Since Paroc stone wool is water repellent and lacks both hygroscopic and capillary absorbing tendencies, it is possible to reduce the corrosion contribution to a minimum. Therefore, the lowest diffusion resistance facilitates drying when the conditions are favourable. Conversely, the lower diffusion resistance leads to a situation in which the stone wool cannot contribute towards preventing moisture vaporisation from a cold surface. If there is air in the insulation, corrosion may take place on corrosive material if the moisture does not dry out. The insulation material that is water-soluble may increase waters electrolytic capacity or significantly alter the waters pH value and by that means contribute actively towards corrosion. The high moisture resistance of Paroc stone wool means that the solubility is very low. The electrolytic capacity and pH value do not change. Certain other types of insulation material may contain materials that directly contribute to the events causing corrosion, such as fire retardant salts. Paroc stone wool is incombustible and contains no such materials.


Sources of moisture

Part of a building may be subject to moisture through precipitation, condensation of water vapour in the air, absorption of ground moisture or leakage. Furthermore, all materials come into contact with the water vapour in the air and absorb a certain amount of water. During the time of building, the construction may also be subject to great amounts of water, known as building moisture.

Normally, the main sources of moisture are: air moisture building moisture rain moisture ground moisture (vapour content of 100 %) running water

Rain moisture

Building moisture Running water

Air moisture

Ground moisture

Figure 21

Air moisture

Building moisture

Air contains water vapour and the content level is denoted by RH. The relative humidity level outdoors may be assumed to 85 % during the winter and 70 % during the summer. The relative humidity level of the air inside the house is determined by the outside air temperature and the vapour content, the inside air temperature, production of moisture inside the house in addition to the ventilation intensity below the stationary circumstances. That is to say, if there is an even production of moisture and level ventilation intensity, the correlation may be written as vapour content inside the house = vapour content outside the house + the moisture contribution. The full value of this moisture contribution during the winter months may be; 3 g/m3 for the office and 4 g/m3 for the normal dwellings.

Building moisture is moisture to which constructions are subjected during the building stage or during the manufacturing of the building materials. After the building phase, building moisture should dry out in order that the construction comes into equilibrium with the surrounding relative vapour content.



Ground moisture

Moisture transport
The most important moisture transport mechanisms are: Diffusion Convection (as water vapour) Capillary absorption Force of gravity (as liquid)

The influence of ground moisture is largely dependant on the level of the ground water, but also the type of land, the ground level, the cause of the water and the grounds drainage properties. Ground moisture may be divided into the following categories: Surface water Infiltration water (i.e. surface water penetrating into construction) Ground water Fracture water Capillary absorbed water Above the highest surface of the ground water (HSGW), the ground moisture should always be assumed as 100 % RH. Example A building is heated to +20 oC and ventilated with 0.5 air changes per hour (outside air). The volume of the building is 300 m3 and the moisture production inside the house as a result of people, animals and plants etc is 0.6 kg/h. Outside the house, the air temperature is +- 0 oC and the relative humidity is 90 %, that is to say the vapour content is 0.0043 kg/m3. The saturation vapour content at +20 oC is 0.0173 kg/m3. The relative humidity within the house is: RH = vapour content saturation vapour content The vapour content of the air inside the building = 0.0043 + 0.6 0.5 300

Moisture diffusion strives to level out the differences in vapour content in the air through molecule movements. The moisture flows from an area with higher vapour content to an area with lower vapour content. Diffusion may in practice be regarded nondependent of the temperature.
Temperature Saturation vapour (C) content cm (103 kg/m3) 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1.81 2.15 2.54 3.00 3.53 4.15 4.86 5.18 5.57 5.96 6.37 6.79 7.26 7.74 8.27 8.83 9.40 10.03 10.67 11.38 12.05 12.83 13.66 14.45 15.36 16.29 17.3 18.3 19.4 20.6 21.8 23.0 24.4 25.8 27.2 28.7 30.4 Saturation vapour pressure (mmHg) Pm (Pa) 217.3 259.9 309.3 367.9 437.2 517.2 610.5 657.2 705.2 758.2 813.1 871.8 934.4 1001.0 1073 1148 1228 1312 1402 1494 1598 1705 1817 1937 2063 2197 2338 2486 2643 2809 2983 3167 3360 3564 3779 4004 4242 1.63 1.95 2.32 2.76 3.28 3.88 4.58 4.93 5.29 5.69 6.10 6.54 7.01 7.51 8.05 8.61 9.21 9.84 10.52 11.23 11.99 12.74 13.63 14.53 15.48 16.48 17.54 18.65 19.83 21.07 22.38 23.76 25.21 26.74 28.35 30.04 31.82

(The amount of vapour in the outside air per m3 plus a total vapour production inside the house through the ventilation level). 0.0043 + RH = 0.6 0.5 300

= 48 %

0.0173 The reduced ventilation level inside the house increases the relative humidity. This is a problem that may in some cases be acute in todays well-insulated and air tight houses with poor ventilation.

Table 22: The correlation between temperature saturation vapour content and saturation vapour pressure.


Capillary suction

Capillary suction attempts to level out the moisture content in a material through moisture travel in the fluid phase. Capillary suction may normally be neglected on dry material but if certain critical moisture content is found, there will be a continuous water mass in the material and moisture transport through capillary suction will be significant. This type of capillary water transport rarely needs to be taken into consideration. However it occurs around insulation on the ground and by oncoming pelting rain.
High Low vapour content

Convection predominant

Figure 23: Diffusion from high to low vapour content.

Outside temperature +10 C RH 50 % Vapour pressure 614 Pa

Inside temperature +20 C RH 40 % Vapour pressure 935 Pa

Moisture diffusion and moisture convection may exist simultaneously and either cooperate or counteract. Previously, the importance of having a vapour barrier in the construction has always been noted. If you observe the amount of moisture that may be transported from one place to another during a certain amount of time as a result of diffusion, you will always find small in comparison with the amount that is transported via convection. Therefore, a vapour barrier in an outer wall or roof is primarily effective as a convection or air barrier. The amount of moisture transported via convection is, in addition to the air pressure difference across the construction, dependent on the total area of perforation. It is important to be aware that one large hole permits a greater moisture transport than many small holes with exactly the same area. It is therefore most important to avoid larger leaks.
Transported amount of water Convection

Figure 24: Diffusion through untreated walls.

The outside temperature is +10 The relative humidity is 50 %. According to the table, this provides a vapour pressure of 614 Pa. The temperature inside the house is +20 oC and the RH 40 %. This provides a vapour pressure of 935 Pa. Diffusion takes place from higher vapour pressure to a lower vapour pressure i.e. inside to outside.


Moisture convection refers to the fact that the water vapour content of the air follows the air travelling through a construction. If the air travels from a warmer area to a colder area, the water vapour in the air will condense on the cold exterior. If the air travels from a cold to a warm area, condensation will not take place; the air flow dries the structure. Thus it is dangerous to have over pressure inside the house for normal applications. Air movement and therefore convection is reduced if there is an airtight layer anywhere in the construction.


Void with Figure 25



Air tight housing

This applies to efficient building insulation in order to save energy. Simultaneously, the building has to be constructed air tight in order for the ventilation to be controllable. A good air tightness means that the air is transmitted to all the largest parts via the ventilation system. The ventilation amount may be adjusted to the requirements of the building irrespective of wind pressure and similar. The requirement for ventilation may exist for many reasons: to remove odours (from people, tobacco smoke, cooking etc), provide people with vital oxygen, avoid high CO2 levels; prevent dangerous levels of radon gas and formaldehyde, as well as to remove moisture (avoiding condensation on windows and walls, mould etc). Therefore, the requirement for ventilation significantly varies between different types of buildings.
Reduced ventilation raises relative humidity

content level of which may be described by the relative humidity. That is to say, the relative humidity is a quote between the actual vapour content and the saturation vapour content of the actual inside air temperature. A house equipped with furniture, walls etc tends to moisture equilibrium with air in the house. With good ventilation, the vapour content will remain at the normal level. On the other hand, with poor ventilation, the moisture enrichment will take place in any material that can absorb moisture. The concentration will proceed and the risk of the formation of mould will increase. It is easy to see that as the level of ventilation is reduced, the relative air humidity increases. The risk of mould formation will increase. Even at a relative humidity of 75 %, certain types of mould fungus thrive at average room temperature.

From the point of view of the moisture prevention, well functioning ventilation is of great importance. The level of ventilation affects the relative air humidity, which is the main determinant on the existence of mould. In an average residence, a lot of moisture is generated. The human being emits moisture even at temperatures below +20 oC. At +20 oC, the average person emits 40 g water per hour and this amount increases by 7 g/per C. Cooking, washing, laundry and plants provide their own contribution to this moisture load. The generated moisture transforms into water vapour and is absorbed by the air inside the house, the moisture

Figure 26: The effect of low and high ventilation.

Mould fungus may form on wood and other organic materials Wood-based materials are subjected to increased moisture movement Wood rot

Adhesive on plastic flooring is broken down

Plastic based materials are subjected to greater moisture movements

Figure 27: The effect of moisture content.


Cellar walls
Cellar walls are susceptible to different sources of damp. In the cellar walls there is building moisture, gaps within the walls contain air moisture and in the ground outside the wall, there is ground moisture. Furthermore, the area may be subjected to obtaining local water pressure against the wall as a result of rain, melted water or water currents in the ground. Moisture may also be absorbed via capillary action through the lower plate in walls. Therefore, damp in cellar constructions must be dried out. The design engineer has to presuppose that one is able to provide the interior with dense material for example, vinyl tape or tight acrylic paint. The scientific way is to prevent the moisture problem in cellar walls thus making it possible for the construction to dry out from the outside. If the cellar wall is insulated from the outside with a capillary breaking, vapour permeable material must the outside forthcoming moisture be diverted. Building moisture may dry out through the vapour permeable insulation. This means that it does the same irrespective of the material on the inner jacket. It is also advised to have a taut coating on the inner jacket as well.

Slab on the ground and cellar floors

Slab on the ground floor and cellar floors may be insulated above and below concrete. Many complaints in recent years have focused on the moisture problem of the slab on the ground foundations. Most cases refer to wood framed flooring above the concrete slab. Therefore, this construction solution is applied to hardly any constructions today.
Insulation above concrete

One reason in support of thermal insulation on top of the slab is that it feels more comfortable to walk on than one with plastic carpet fixed directly on the concrete. Another reason is that the surface of the concrete slab requires less accuracy. The disadvantage of having insulation above the slab is that the transport of moisture in the vapour phase up through the slab must be stopped with a vapour barrier. If this is not done, the floor may get damaged. Cellular plastics may not replace the vapour barrier since there will always be cracks between the plates. Cellular plastic is not even sufficient to be used as diffusion seal. If you are at all unsure about achieving a lasting taut vapour barrier you should place the insulation below the concrete instead.

re oistu ng m i ld i Bu

ure oist m und Gro

Figure 28: The capillary breaking insulation of cellar walls.

Figure 29: Insulation below the concrete slab.

Moisture transport

e inag Dra

Capillary breaking layer



Insulation below concrete

The best and safest way to build a slab on the ground floor is to insulate the under side of it with open insulation. This type of thermal insulation incorporates a moisture mechanical advantage and allows moisture transport from the slab to the ground instead of from the ground to the slab. How is this possible? Well, the ground has 100 % RH in certain temperature, say 17 oC. This provides a vapour pressure of 1937 Pa. The insulation means that you receive a temperature on the underside of the plate that is higher than in the ground, for example 20 oC. The saturated vapour pressure in the plates, i.e. at 100 % RH will be 2338 Pa at that temperature. Since the vapour pressure attempts equilibrium, it results in vapour transport in a downward direction. This continues until the vapour pressure is the same in the ground and the plate. In the above example, the slab will reach 83 % RH. The level of humidity will not influence the plastic carpet or the adhesive. To ensure that the vapour transport is downwards, a temperature difference of at least 2 oC is required, which can be achieved by using 30 40 mm thick stone wool for the slab widths up to 15 metres. From the energy efficient point of view, people often choose a significantly thicker insulation. This provides even better protection against moisture damage. Insulation must be laid under the entire floor. If the insulation is only placed on the edge, the inner parts of the floor will not be protected against ground moisture. Insulation also has to be taken from beneath the edge section, stiffening etc. It is advised that an insulation material that may bear a higher load than the rest of the insulation be used.

Figure 30: Floors without insulation.

Floors without insulation

What happens if you have laid a taut floor covering on a concrete slab which already had time to dry to an average humidity of 90 % RH? Beneath the slab lies a drained and capillary breaking layer. The humidity of the ground is 100 % RH. Since the temperature of the slab will be the same as the ground, you will get vapour transport from the ground to the dry plate. Vapour transport will continue until the vapour pressure reaches equilibrium i.e. 100 % RH. The result will be saponification of the adhesive on the floor coating or mould growth on organic material.

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Moisture transport


When heat is transformed from the ground and the temperature is lower than 0 oC, it transforms the water content in the ground to ice and the ground freezes. There are two types of frost: ice stripes frost (discontinuous) and homogenous frost. Only the ice stripes create the frost elevation. One term of significant importance in connection with frost is capillaries. If you place a small pipe in a bowl with water, the water will rise into the pipe. Exactly the same happens in the ground, i.e. a dry area of land has the ability to absorb water provided there are small holes in the ground which serve as pipes for transport by the ground water from a lower level to a higher.
The origin of frost

The conditions for the ice layer growing are that there must be a capillary connection with the ground water. The ice layer will appropriate the water molecules from the grains of earth that are nearest under the frost boundary. The resolved grain of earth will in turn appropriate from the nearest grain lying beneath and wave of thefts will continue in this way as long as the ice layer has capillaries connected to the ground water. In the event that the connection is lost, there will be no more ice volume and there will be no space for the frost elevation.
Different kinds of ground provide different types of frost

Every type of land has a certain purpose to bind water. A water coating surrounds every grain of earth and its thickness depends on the size of the grain. When the heat leaves the ground, the grains of earth in the water coating are transformed to ice crystals frost. If the frost now stops at a certain depth known as the frost boundary and the conditions are suitable for new water molecules to be transported there, they will also be transformed to ice and join the existing mass of ice crystals. With that, the ice layer receives an increase in volume that, according to the smallest resistance layer, straightens out in an upward direction and consequently raises the layer of earth above.
Frost elevation Directed resultant force Frost boundary: ice crystal formation provides an increase in volume Capillary moisture transport Ground water Figure 31: The frost elevation mechanism.

The more fine-grained the area of land, the thicker the water holes resulting in the individual grain of earth will be. This means that the water molecules may be transported easier and even quicker when the grain of earth is small and the transport route short. In a fine-grained area of land however, the frost elevation will be easier since the number of contact points between the ice sheets and the amount of grains is significantly greater (the load at each point is smaller). Clay is an exception since it has a low capillary path speed. On an area of land with coarse particles, the water transport will be complicated because of a long transport way and more narrow water holes. The load in the contact points is so great that the ice crystals will not be able to raise the layer above and instead fill the space of the hole between the grains. In order for the frost elevation to take place, the following conditions must be met simultaneously. The area of land needs to be prone to frost. Water should be able to transport to the frost boundary. Enough significant amount of heat should disappear from the area of land. The load on the ground must be less that the lifting power of the frost.



Insulation in the ground prevents frost damage

Frost damage may be prevented in different ways. You can: Change the frost prone area of land for one less prone to frost. Lower the ground water level in order that the earth cannot absorb water. Foundations for frost free depth. Lay a layer of thermal insulation in the ground. From an economical point of view, the most interesting alternative is to position a thermally insulated layer. The advantage with ground insulation is that the thermal current can be limited from the ground during insulation. As a result there is less frost depth since the temperature beneath the insulation layer seldom falls short of 0 oC. The reduced frost depth in turn: Much smaller risk for frost damage Less foundation depth for houses etc Less disposition depth for water and sewer

In order to obtain functioning ground insulation, the following requirements are also demanded in the insulation material: It must not rot It must withstand acid found in the ground It must have high pressure strength It must have good thermal insulation power

Extruded cellular plastics fulfil these requirements. Stone wool is not recommended as insulation against frost in roads, railways or other cold constructions. In the long time run stone wool will get wet and the thermal conductivity reduced. If one side of the construction is warmed up, stone wool works very well.



Ground insulation
There are many different recommendations for insulation materials that are to be used in the ground and for structures on the ground. The old tradition of observing natural geography is unfortunately not always followed. Today, houses are built on old swamps or dried seabed or lakebeds, or on other types of ground that are less suitable for the purpose. The conditions of the locality should be taken into consideration when deciding on a solution. The various ground insulation solutions are more or less resistant to moisture load. The functioning of the various materials and the major differences are presented below. Statements were obtained from The Swedish National Testing and Research Institute (SP) and from Munthers Torkteknik AB with regard to the structures presented below. Both organisations have had to deal with multiple difficulties and have thus learned how not to build. They are called SP respectively MT in the following.
Critical factors

The structure shall be such that it prevents ground water, capillary water or water seeping in from the outside from reaching the thermal insulation or flooring material susceptible to moisture. The structure shall also reduce the relative humidity, i.e. the thermal insulation function shall hold the RH so low that flooring materials susceptible to moisture are protected. The structure must also be durable and non-deformable so as to bear moving loads. The structure shall consist of materials that withstand any moisture loads without being ruined or releasing hazardous materials.
Important details

Ground Slab
General description

A ground slab supporting a heated building must always be provided with heat insulation. Its main purpose is to limit relative humidity in the floor to a level that does not damage the flooring material. The insulation shall also reduce heat losses along outer parts of the floor. If the insulation of the slab is very thick, ground frost insulation may be necessary on the outside. Thermal insulation can be placed either underneath or on top of the concrete slab. In order for the ground slab to function properly, highly reliable capillary barrier and drainage between ground and the concrete slab is required. When a concrete ground slab is used, the slab must be protected from contact with water sucked up by capillary action. The insulation shall be dry so as to ensure that excessive humidity does not reach the floor. A correctly designed ground slab is theoretically safe with regard to moisture, and it is also considerably less expensive than other solutions.

The slab of concrete must be able to dry out upwards or downwards before tight flooring materials are laid. Thick parts of the slab may be particularly problematic in this respect. The moisture barrier separates the moisture sensitive material, e.g. wood on the slab, from the slab. When the insulation is underneath the slab, a moisture barrier is placed on the slab, if required. Diffusion-proof flooring with moisture sensitive glue requires a moisture barrier. When the insulation is above the slab, a moisture barrier is placed between the slab and the insulation. This requires that the slab be carefully cleaned. The recommendations are generally valid for small houses. Where larger slabs - width over 10 m - are used, a special moisture solution is required, such as a moisture barrier between insulation and the slab. When floor heating is used, the insulation should be completed with moisture barrier between the slab and the insulation underneath.



Slab on insulation

Insulation above slab

Figure 32: The entire slab is always insulated. Minimum 100 mm draining material under insulation. Edges are insulated, if insulation of the slab is over 120 mm thick.

Figure 33: A PE vapour barrier or a moisture barrier is placed between the insulation and the slab. The layer breaking down the capillary phenomenon should be at least 150 mm thick.

Insulation with Paroc stone wool under the slab is considered to be a dry application; no extras when calculating the thermal isolating capacity. The drying time for a slab with stone wool is approximately 40 days. The slab continues drying downwards even after installation of the flooring. If EPS or other plastic insulation is used, the drying time will be 60 days. Plastic insulation can give extra protection against moisture from below.

This solution gives a soft and warm floor. No problems with moisture from the structure, if the concrete surface is perfectly clean. Requires careful work. The structure is susceptible to moisture from above. Keeping the vapour barrier during building work can be a problem.

SP: Little damage on this floor. If stone wool is replaced with cell plastic insulation, drying will take longer after installation of tight flooring. Before laying the flooring the slab will dry mainly upwards irrespective of the insulation material. Adequate drying time is necessary. When the direction of moisture movement is reversed, e.g. when turning off floor heating, dense insulation is better than open stone wool. Moisture barrier is required in such cases. MT: With regard to protection against moisture this is the best ground slab structure. Sills and the like should also be protected from concrete. The moisture content in the concrete slab will usually be so low that the surface layer can be selected quite freely.

SP: Frequent damage above all on floor structures with studs. Plastic foil does not guarantee freedom from damage. There will be moisture under the plastic sheets, and microorganisms will flourish. If smell occurs, a floating floor is more difficult to fix. Vapour movement will make the slab moist in spite of a layer stopping capillary action. MT: As for moisture, this structure should be avoided. The insulation layer may not include organic material. Sills and the like are placed above the upper edge of the insulation layer, in warm room air, and should be sufficiently insulated against moisture. The vapour resistance of the insulation layer should be taken into consideration with regard to other layers including the flooring.


Insulation above and below the slab

Basement wall

The basement is subject to various sources of moisture. The wall structure contains moisture that must be allowed to dry out. There is moisture from the ground outside the basement wall. Rain, water from melting snow and ice or water currents in the ground can also cause local water pressure against the basement wall. Capillary action can cause water to be sucked through the slab and up the wall.
Moisture in structure

Figure 34: Combination of insulation below and above the slab as per previous alternatives.

The moisture in a basement structure must be allowed to dry out, either outwards or inwards. If the inside of the wall is coated with a non-breathable material, e.g. a vinyl wallpaper or plastic paint, the moisture can in practice dry out only outwards. A correctly constructed basement wall therefore allows diffusion on the outside. The moisture dries out over a period of several years, after which the inside of the wall can be sealed against diffusion without a risk of damages, even if the outside wall is diffusion-proof.
Ground moisture

The main insulation underneath the slab can be combined with a thin layer of comfort insulation. If the slab is insulated on the underside with PAROC GRS 30, the slab can continue drying downwards after the dense flooring has been laid. A plastic foil is placed between concrete and stone wool on the topside. Optimal moisture protection and comfort: PAROC GRS 30 under the slab and 17 or 25mm PAROC SSB 2 on the topside. Double floor sheets for even compression on the topside. Plastic foil between the insulation and the slab.

Ground moisture is the main cause of problems. You should count with a relative humidity (RH) of 100 % in the ground, even if the value is occasionally lower. Ground moisture in the form of free water can be drained away. The wall should for the sake of safety have an anti-capillary layer so that the water current in the drainage does not damage the wall.
Surface moisture

Plan a slope leading away from the building.

Critical factors

SP: Good, comfortable floor. No damage. An alternative solution is ventilated sealing layer, moisture protection mat, which allows the drying of moisture in the structure, and at the same time the floor is warm. MT: With regard to moisture insulation this is only better with insulation underneath. With regard to comfort the footing should be separated from the concrete slab so that floor surface temperature will not be too low. This can occasionally be achieved with correct flooring material. The insulation layer should never have a load-bearing frame made of organic material. Place sill and the like above the top edge of the insulation layer.

Moisture in the structure must be able to dry outwards if the inside of the basement wall is sealed. The wall must be protected against moisture from the outside.



Important details

External insulation

The concrete slab extends outside the basement wall, and a cove is poured on the edge. The cove must be poured carefully in order to cover the gap between the wall and the slab. To be on the safe side, the wall should be insulated against moisture by bitumen 0.5 m above the cove. One way to interrupt the capillary action is to set up a ground insulation slab, PAROC GRS 30, against the basement wall. Any water in the ground will flow parallel to the slab, as the flow resistance of the slab is usually higher than that of the ground. In dense ground the opposite is possible. To prevent water from running in through the slab into the wall there must be a drainage layer outside the slab made of suitable material. The slab is a part of the drainage system and must therefore contact with the part leading the water away. A grooved insulation slab or a moisture protection mat are open at the bottom and thus increase the risk of water penetration. If there is a high risk of water pressure on the wall, fit an bitumen mat on the wall irrespective of type of insulation. Draining filler shall lead to the drainage line.

Figure 35: Down: Insulation contacting with drainage. Up: Plaster on insulation or base element. Wall: Bitumen coating approximately 0,5 m up.

A draining layer of a minimum thickness of 200 mm is placed closest to the insulation. Stone wool stops capillary action, but has an open structure that allows the wall to dry outwards. Water is led off along the insulation surface. Stone wool is sensitive to high pressure, but a flat layer underground is ok. The thermal resistance is reduced, as per instruction in the Swedish building codes, with 0.20 m2K/W when stone wool contacts with ground.

SP: Good structure irrespective of insulation material. Water pressure in the ground, resulting from blocked drainage, causes problems. It is important to drain surface water away from the house. MT: Clearly the best alternative with regard to humidity. Paint the inside wall with a silicate or KC paint that will pass through vapour. You can also leave the wall untreated.


Internal insulation

External and internal insulation

Figure 36: N.B.! Wooden studs must not be placed inside the wall RISK OF ROTTING. Do not use a plastic sheet as vapour barrier.

Figure 37: Recommendations for external and internal insulation can be combined. The insulation is placed mainly on the outside of a wall.

If wooden studs are used, fit first a 20 mm stone wool board directly on the entire wall. The wall can to a degree dry inwards, when stone wool is used as insulation.

The external insulation is the main insulation and it completed with a thin insulation layer on the inside for increased comfort.

SP: Great risk of mildew on the wall. This is a risk constructors should be aware of. MT: The basement wall will be colder and therefore moister than without insulation or with external insulation. The insulation layers should never have a frame of inorganic material. Pay attention to the vapour resistance of the insulation layers with regard to other materials in the wall. In relation to comfort, the structure has the same benefits as external and internal insulation.

SP: The point is the external insulation. On the inside a board, such as gypsum, is enough, since a wall is not touched in the same way as the floor is. MT: With regard to moisture this version is worse than insulation on the outside only. The moisture permeability characteristics of the insulation layer must be taken into consideration when closing in parts of building. The insulation layers should never have a frame of organic material. As for comfort, this alternative has benefits as compared with externally insulated walls. Counter radiation from the wall is reduced, and the basement is experienced as less raw.



Fire can be defined as a destructive thermal process which increases damage on its own until all combustible material exposed to fire is burned out. The following are required for a fire to ignite and to sustain: Combustible material Sufficient amount of oxygen Heat that causes a material to reach ignition temperature

The oxygen required for combustion usually comes from air. The intensity of the fire depends on the oxygen supply. A reduction in the amount of oxygen can therefore extinguish or dampen a fire.


When the temperature of combustible material reaches ignition temperature, rapid combustion will result. The heat required for ignition can be produced by: open flame (e.g. match) a heated body (e.g. welding spark) optical phenomenon (e.g. burning lens) electrical phenomenon (e.g. arc) friction (e.g. over-heating of a bearing) The combustion temperature reached depends of several factors, such as the heat value of the burning materials (MJ/kg), rate of combustion (depends on the pulverisation), air supply and the amount of flue gases generated.
A fire in a room can be divided into three main phases: ignition, combustion and cooling down.



Figure 38: Fire triangle shows the requirements for a fire.


When combined with oxygen, combustible materials generate more heat than is required for the chemical reaction. Combustibility is graded as inflammability. Self-igniting materials Materials that can start burning without the influence of an external heat source, e.g. linseed oil soaked in cotton waste. Flammable materials Materials, which finely dispersed can be ignited with a match and which continue burning in air, such as paper, wood splinters and most textiles. Materials that do not ignite easily Material that will ignite when heated locally and will burn as long as heated, but which will not continue to burn after the heat source has been removed. Some examples: wood-wool cement boards and certain plastics. Test methods exist for determining whether material is difficult to ignite. Non-combustible materials include the common building materials such as cement, concrete, aerated concrete, gypsum, brick and stone wool. The non-combustibility is usually tested.


Flame phase

Cooling down

Time Figure 39: The various stages of fire on time/temperature curve.

1. Ignition Flammable interior material, such as textiles or other upholstery material, catch fire as a result of careless handling of a heat source. A fire can be caused by cigarettes, matches, radiators, welding equipment or something similar. Fault in electrical equipment and arson are other possible reasons. The ignition phase can be up to several hours long if the fire begins as glowing combustion. The process can, however, be extremely rapid if flammable materials, liquids or gases ignite. Smoke and gases are generated in a room when glowing starts and the atmosphere can be life endangering long before the temperature in the room starts increasing.

2. Flame phase, fully developed fire Ignition becomes a full fire with the so-called flashover. This is a critical phase in the development of a fire. After the flashover it is no longer possible to stay in the room and constraining and extinguishing the fire will be difficult. All combustible surfaces in the room are now on fire, and the temperature rises rapidly. The maximum temperature in a room during the fire phase is 8001,100 C. The structure is subject to fire stress, and the fire can spread to other rooms and other parts of the building through the spread of flames, heat radiation, thermal conduction or convection of combustible gases. The generation of smoke and gases can be extreme. 3. Cooling down During this phase the amount of combustible material lessens and the temperature drops. The combustion process ceases gradually. The most important factors determining the shape of the time/temperature curve in Figure 39 are the amount and distribution of combustible material, ventilation, oxygen supply, and the characteristics of building components (such as thermal capacity etc).

Ignition protected coating

Wooden floor



Steel beam

Figure 40 B. Fire spread through conduction.


Spreading of fire
A fire is spread mainly through radiation, conduction and convection.

Heat is conducted in a material (solid body, liquid or gas) or from one object being in direct contact with another. Metals are the best conductors of heat. Liquids conduct little heat, and gases even less. In case of a fire, heat can also be conducted through non-combustible materials and structures. A thin concrete wall, for example, is no sure obstacle to a spreading fire. As metals are good heat conductors, pipes and other such structures that penetrate walls can be a risk.

Radiation Radiation

Figure 40 A. Fire spread through radiation.


Heat is radiated from warm bodies to cold ones. For the main part, heat radiation is invisible infrared radiation. The radiation intensity is reduced as a square of distance.



Fire protection of buildings

The purpose of the national building code is to build houses in a way that prevents fires. On the other hand, the spreading of fire within a building or to other buildings should be prevented. Here is a simple summary of the goals of fire protection regulations To save lives To save property This can also be expressed in the following way: Preventing fires Requirements concerning non-combustible material, sufficient distance to combustible materials, surface layers etc.
Figure 40 C. Fire spread through convection.



The generated flue gases and the surrounding air are heated in a fire. Since warm gases are lighter than cool ones, there will be convection or thermal radiation of hot gas mixtures. In case of an indoor fire, such convected heat can cause secondary fires at long distances from the main fire, partly by heating combustible materials to ignition temperature, partly because gases that have not burned due to lack of oxygen are ignited when sufficient oxygen is available.

Allowing a secure escape in case of fire Requirements concerning two exits or the maximum length of escape routes etc. Ensuring the durability of structures in case of fire The frame should consist of fire-engineered structures etc. Reducing the risk of spreading fire Requirements concerning surface materials, fire cells in attics etc. Facilitating the putting out of fires Requirements concerning ventilation, fire posts and accessibility for rescue vehicles etc. These requirements are the basis for the fire engineering of a building.


Fire insulation
Fire insulation of buildings is designed to prevent the commencement and spreading of fire as well as ensuring that the potential fire can be restricted in such a way that is beneficial for personal safety. The construction performance and fire technique assessments are in the majority of cases based on full-scale testing, type tests of all the constructions or testing of a particular construction. We are currently investing in the development of theories, which enable the dimensioning of flammable constructions using calculations. It is therefore important to have knowledge regarding the characteristics of materials at high temperatures.
Fire load

Type of building

Fire load in kg Wood m2 floor area 25 45 20 40 15 25 20 95 15 30 200 400 30 125 15 50

House Hospital Hotel Office School Library Storage premises Warehouse

Table 42: The table shows the results of an investigation of the size of fire load in different buildings with mainly concrete constructions.

The term fire load refers to the relationship between the total amount of heat that is released on total combustion of the entire inflammable material in a building, inclusive of goods in the warehouse, inventories etc and the total area of the building. The fire load is expressed as MJ/m2, however in writing, it is often referred to as kg wood/m2. This unit is internationally recognised and useful, as a significant number of fires are related to wood. Other combustible materials are calculated from wood in ratio with combustion heat. The fire load may therefore be calculated as a sum of the total combustion heat of the material, divided by the combustion heat of one kg tree (pine) that is 19000 kJ/kg.

The table indicates that the fire load does not only vary between different categories of buildings, but also within the same category. This depends on the different types and extent of furniture. A broad knowledge of existing fire loads in different types of building will also provide a foundation for the requirements for the building constructions (bearing constructions, outer walls, joists etc.) and for the fire technical dimensions of these.

Fire load = kg wood/m2 Figure 43

Fire course

The fire course that is to say the temperature/length of time, largely depends on the fire load and the geometry of the firecells. A complete description of the fire course in a firecell is complicated due to the number of influencing factors. Therefore, it is advised to use the normal fire curve (refer to Figure 44) for all tests and calculations where there are no particular reasons to veer from it. Such a reason may pose a risk for petrol fires for which there is another curve, the hydrocarbon curve, which portrays another time and temperature course. The unique fire properties of stone wool are clear when compared to the normal fire curve.

Figure 41



Fire temperature


Natural stone starts shrinking and the strength of the concrete is significantly reduced (120 mins)



Glass melts (approx 7 mins) Wood gas ignites (approx 5 mins)



Rubber and plastic materials melt and ignite (approx 3 mins)

0 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300

Figure 44: The normal fire curve

Length of fire - minutes


Fire technical building classes

A firecell may include a room or a group of rooms in a building and is designed in such a way that a fire may be prevented from spreading to another area of the building within a time frame.

In national building codes it is common to devide the type of buildings into classes. In Sweden, as an example, buildings are divided into three different fire technical classes. When dividing the classes, the attic should be calculated as a floor if it is used as a residence or main part of a home. Buildings in class Br1 Buildings with three or more floor plans should be classified in class Br1. The following buildings with two floors should be classified in class Br1: Buildings designated to be slept in by people, who are not expected to have good knowledge of the surroundings. Buildings designated for persons, who are not able to easily move to safety by themselves. Buildings with assembly premises on other floors. Buildings in Br2 class The following buildings with two floor plans should be classified as lowest in the class Br2: Buildings designated for more than two flats and where the living area or workroom is in the attic. Buildings with assembly premises on the ground level. Buildings which have a building area greater than 200 m2 and which are not divided by fire walls into units bigger in size than in the lowest class REI 60-M.

Figure 45: A building with two firecells.

The time frame is determined in terms of the function of the building and the number of floors. In the final construction of the firecell, there are no building parts, such as windows and doors with less fire resistance than that which corresponds to the firecell. Providing that the fire can still be prevented from spreading to these parts of the building, via intervention of the fire defence within the normal effort time or in another way.


Buildings with a one floor plan with assembly premises in or under the ground level should, as lowest, be grouped in the class Br2. Since other buildings may depend on a particular type of usage, there are special guidelines to be followed. Other buildings, not mentioned above, are classified as Br 3. Detailed guidelines for different parts of a building and different types of buildings may be found in provisions in for example The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning or the Swedish Insurance Sector.
Euro classes

Class division of the coating

The coating is decided upon in terms of smoke progression and fire spreading in a room during the fires preliminary phase. Therefore, the fire exit requirements are very strict. The regulation divided the coating into three requirement levels: Euroclass B-s1, d0 (previously coating class I), C-s2, d0 (previously class II) and D s2, d0 (previously class III). Coatings of a lesser quality D-s20, d0 are not utilised.
Classification of the building sections

As part of the EU, a new common system for testing and classifying the fire properties of building materials has been taken into use. This means that the number of fire testing methods is reduced and replaced by a fewer number of harmonised measures. All earlier national classifications are replaced by the new Euro classes A1, A2, B F. A1 is the best class. During the transitional period, the old classes apply within parentheses. The Euro classes describe the building materials contribution to fire and the risk of over ignition. No over ignition takes place in classes A1, A2 and B. Classes A2-D should be combined with additional classes which describe the building material releasing smoke from itself (s1, s2, s3) or emits burning drops (d0, d1, d3) when affected by the fire. Class E may only be combined with the additional class d2. For the lowest class F, the performance has not been established or it means that the product burns easily. The National Building guidelines should outline how the different materials may be used. Paroc stone wool without the outer coating or covered by glass fibre tissue is classified in the top class A1.

The regulations set requirements for building sections depending on the function of the classes: R (load-bearing capacity) E (integrity) I (insulation) The term integrity refers to the constructional capacity to prevent the entire building burning. Insulation limits the temperature of the areas not exposed to the fire normally a maximum temperature of 140 C. The class designations that are usually a combination of two or three classes are connected to a time frame in minutes such as RE 30 or REI 60. The classification may be combined with an additional classification M with special consideration paid to mechanical damage C for doors with locking device fitted

Ignition protected coating is a coating made from fireresistant or another suitable material, which is fixed safely and which, when fire tested in accordance with standardised methods for a period of at least 10 minutes, prevents the ignition of the flammable material it covers. In specific construction solutions, Paroc stone wool is classified as an ignition protected coating.



Fire resistant capacity of Paroc stone wool

Efficiency of the insulation

Paroc stone wool is manufactured from Diabase stone that is heated to its melting point of approximately 1500 C and is then transformed into fibre by a special process. Paroc stone wool is therefore to a high degree an inorganic product, apart from a very small content of binder and oil.
Resistance to temperature

The following factors conclude the efficiency of the fire insulation: 1) Thermo stability Insulation material should be able to endure high temperatures that exist during a fire without melting or shrinking significantly in size. 2) Insulation power The insulation power is dependant on the temperature. The insulation material should have good thermal insulation properties even at high temperatures. 3) Thermal capacity The thermal capacity of Paroc stone wool is somewhat dependant on the low density. Concrete for example has a high thermal capacity.

Paroc stone wool is an insulation material with a high melting point appropriate for constructions with high fire requirements. Insulation does not increase the fire load and the protected insulation capacity during a fire. The binder in Paroc stone wool products melts at a temperature of approx 200 C. Stone wool fibres reach up to 1000 C. Paroc stone wool may therefore be used at temperatures higher than 200 C the fibres remain in tact and protect the underlying material from the effects of the flame. Insulation should be placed in the construction so that the mechanical influence may not change form when the binder leaves. As a rule, only one side is exposed to high temperatures followed by the breaking down of the binder. Paroc stone wool has good thermal insulation properties even in the high temperatures that are incurred during fire. The temperature drop of the outermost insulation layer is so great that the rest of the insulation remains intact.

The aim of fire technical dimensioning is to bring about a construction that with safety withstands the influence of fire it may be exposed to without collapsing. Furthermore, it often applies to preventing the ignition of material on the side not exposed to fire. However, the calculations are complex. In many cases, the dimensions that lead to tests have already been conducted. For certain constructions, it is possible to carryout data calculations such as fire insulation of steel constructions with PAROC FPS 14. The Addition method is adopted for divided wooden constructions. A summary description may be found in the following.


Addition method
The following method is not 100 % exact and does not compensate real fire tests. There are still too many unsure parameters. The result of such a calculation can be used as complement to the testing or a reference test can complete the calculation.

A sample calculation. Here is an example of fire resistance (btot) calculated according to the Addition method (formula 1).
12 95 95 12 mm mm mm mm chip board timber stud (A) air gap, (B) glass wool, (C) stone wool chip board

Divided Timber Structures

The addition method is a method for calculating the fire resistance of timber structures with wooden studs and the highest fire-engineering class of EI 60. By adding the fire resistance of the structures various material layers it is possible to get an estimate of the entire structures fire resistance (btot). The calculations are based on a large number of fire tests. The starting point is the so-called base value (bn). This is the fire resistance of a material layer. The location of the layer in the structure can be established by multiplying the base value with a position coefficient (kn). The following formula can also be used. btot = b1k1 + b2k2 + ... = bnkn (formula 1)

(A) Air gap btot=(13.6 x 0.8)+(5.0 x 1.0)+(13.6 x 0.6)= 24.0 min (B) Glass wool btot=(13.6 x 0.78)+(10.0 x 1.0)+(13.6 x 0.67)=29.7 min (C) Stone wool btot=(13.6 x 0.78)+(19.0 x 1.0)+(13.6 x 2.9)= 69.0 min

Position coefficient (kn) for various material layers in a wall with a single board layer.
Type Thickness (mm) Exposed board cover on rear with Glass wool/ stone wool Air gap Ins/ air gap *)1)Glass wool (mm) 45195 45 70 95 145 Position coefficients Non-exposed board covered on front with Stone wool (mm) 2)3) Air gap

Examples of a materials base value (b) and position coefficient (k) are shown in the table below. Base value (bn) of various materials
Type Density (kg/m3) 450590 Thickness (mm) 12 20 12 22 Base value (min) 11.1 18.7 13.6 24.6 Wood based board and all plywood Chip and fibre boards Gypsum board Normal Protect F

(mm) 45195

12 20

0.78 0.94

0.8 0.8

1.0 1.0

0.67 1.23

1.9 1.9

2.4 2.4

2.9 2.9

3.9 0.6 3.9 0.6**)

Wood based boards and all plywood Chip boards and fibre boards Gypsum board Normal Protect F Glass wool

12 22

0.78 0.98

0.8 0.8

1.0 1.0

0.67 1.37

1.9 1.9

2.2 2.4

2.9 2.9

3.9 0.6 3.9 0.6**)


13 15

0.80 0.84

0.8 0.8

1.0 1.54)

0.74 0.88

1.9 1.9

2.4 2.4

2.9 2.9

3.9 3.9

0.7 0.7

680780 830 19

13 15 45 95 120 195 45 95 120 195 45195

18.0 22.0 5.0 10.0 12.0 20.0 9.0 19.0 24.0 39.0 5.0

*) With regard to thickness of the exposed board. **) 0.8 when stud spacing is 70 mm.

Stone wool


Air gap

When Protect F or equivalent is used as the exposed board, i.e. the board resists fire 60 minutes, the following position coefficients can be applied: 1) The same as for stone wool, however max. 2.9. 2) 1.5 for wood-based boards. 3) 1.8 for gypsum board and fibre cement boards. 4) 2.0 for glass wool



Position coefficients (kn) for various materials layers in walls with two board layers.
Exposed board Structure2) Exposed/non-exposed board + board closest to stud board 1 exposed board 2 closest to stud Isolation/ air gap Non-exposed boards board 3 closest to stud board 4 nonexposed

Divided Timber Structures

Addition method Complementary data for Paroc stone wool

2 x wood-based board air gap 2 x gypsum board air gap Gypsum + wood-based board air gap Wood-based board + gypsum air gap 2 x wood-based board stone wool, 28 kg/m3 2 x gypsum board stone wool, 28 kg/m3 Gypsum + wood-based board stone wool, 28 kg/m3 Wood-based board + gypsum stone wool, 28 kg/m3

1.0 1.0

0.6 1.0

1.0 1.0

0.5 1.0

0.7 0.73)






1.0 1.0 1.0

0.6 0.6 1.0

1.0 1.0 1.0

1.0 1.01) 1.01)

0.73) 2.01) 3.51)

The base values for materials were obtained through an extensive test programme, in which samples were tested both in full and reduced scale. In order to complement the study and mainly to study the influence of stone wool density we initiated a test project at the Swedish Institution for Technical Education in Norrkping. The methods used were the same as the first ones used by Trtek. Some tests were carried out in parallel, and they proved to be compatible. The results are shown in the tables below. Base values (bn) for various Paroc stone wool products and for Gyproc Normal gypsum board
Product number Density (kg/m3) 730 26 Thickness (mm) 13 45 70 95 145 45 70 95 50 80 100 30 50 70 80 Base value (min) 18.7 7.7 10.9 11.6 20.3 10.4 16.8 20.2 12.6 24.5 32.3 11.9 23.5 38.0 43.7











Gypsum board


The value is clearly on the safe side. To obtain higher values more base layer is required. 2) Total board thickness max 26 mm per side of wall. 3) 1.0 when stud spacing 70 mm.








Position coefficients (kn)

Position coefficient Type Thick- Exposed lined ness board with stone (mm) wool on back side Stone wool density (kg/m 3) Stone wool Position coefficients Non-exposed lined board with stonewool on front side, thickness (mm) 30 45 50 70 80 95 100 145

Gypsum board


0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9

26 45 80 140

1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

2.1 2.3

2.6 2.9 3.5 2.7 3.3

3.1 3.5 4.1 4.3 3.6 4.1 4.3


NB. (-) = no data available.


13 95 45 13

mm gypsum board mm PAROC slab x 95 mm stud c 600 mm mm gypsum board

Other Paroc information regarding fire

A sample calculation. Here are sample calculations of the structure described above as per (formula 1) on page 41. (D) PAROC UNS 37 (26 kg/m3) btot = (18.7 x 0.9)+(11.6 x 1.0)+(18.7 x 2.9)= 82.7 min (E) PAROC FPS 4 (45 kg/m3) btot = (18.7 x 0.9)+(20.2 x 1.0)+(18.7 x 3.3)= 98.7 min

Instruction for how to insulate steel structure against fire are to be found on our web pages. There will also other tested and approved constructions be found, depending on how far the implementation of the EN-regulations have gone in different countries.

Addition method Fire resistance period over 60 mins

According to the above calculations long fire resistance periods are obtained when using stone wool as insulation. These periods are usually longer than the fire-engineering classes given in other information material from Paroc. Why? In a fire the inner lining either burns or falls down usually after the fire has been burning for 15 to 25 minutes. After that the studs and the isolation are exposed to fire. Withstanding temperatures of over 1,000 C stone wool stays in place and protects the non-exposed skin plate. The studs are charred at a rate of 0.71.0 mm per minute, and will thus be consumed in about 100 minutes. Oversized insulation units are commonly clamped between the studs, but as the studs burn off, the insulation falls down. After that the fire will penetrate the non-exposed board. As this process can vary from case to case, it is disregarded when calculating the fire resistance. This is why certain care is required when making such calculations. This is also the main reason why the Addition method may not be used when the burning time exceeds 60 minutes. Another reason for lower fire-engineering classes is that the fire resistance period is rounded down to the closest value. In example D above 82.7 minutes is reduced to 60 minutes.

For further information of material properties and our products see



Sound power and sound intensity
Sound is energy and treating sound as energy can solve many acoustic problems. This is a simple way of looking at sound issues. A sound source may be considered as a power point source emitting P (watt). A point source emits equally in all directions and at the distance r (m) the intensity I (watt/ m2) may be calculated using the following formula. We presume no reflective surfaces in the space. I = P/(4r2) (1)

Sound pressure
We are not able to hear the sound intensity directly, as our hearing experience is based on the perceived sound pressure in the sound wave. The relationship between the intensity and sound pressure may generally be written as follows: I = p2/(nZ) = p2/(n c) (3) p = sound pressure, Pa Z = c = characteristic impedance of the medium = 400 for normal air = density of the medium, kg/m3 c = speed of sound in the medium, m/s n = a constant, varying between 1 and 4 depending on the character of the sound field.
Free plane sound wave

P = sound power, W r = distance, m I = sound intensity, W/m2 For hemispherical conditions, i.e. a sound source on the ground, the result will be: I = P/(2r2) (2)

When the sound source is located at a great distance and in a space where there are no reflective surfaces, a free plane sound wave is propagating. n = 1 in the formula (3). Formula (1) applies.
Diffuse sound field

P r

In a diffuse sound field, the sound waves arrive from all possible directions. n = 4 in the formula (3). In a reverberation room, a diffuse sound field prevails. If a sound source is placed in such a room, balance is achieved when the supplied and emitted sound power are the same, i.e. in the reverberant field: P=IA (4)

Figure 46: The distribution of sound from a point source on the ground.

NOTE! The intensity is inversely proportional to the (distance)2 from the source (Reduced 6 dB every time the distance is doubled).
Source of sound Whispering Conversation Scream Lorry Trumpet, grand piano Compressed air, riveting hammer Large orchestra 4-engine propeller plane Jet plane Rocket Power, W 10-9 10 10

LW dB 30 70 90 100 110 120 130 150 160 190


P = supplied sound power, W I = intensity, W/m2 A = absorption of the room, m2

10-1 10 10 10



Table 47: Sound power output of some sound sources.

Example 1: A crowded Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden (40,000 people) shouts goal! What is the sound power produced? Answer: 40,000 10-3 W = 40 Watt

Example 2: The output of a machine is 0.1 W sound power. It is placed: a) Outdoors on a hard ground b) Indoors in a reverberation room with the absorption = 6 m2 . What is the sound intensity and the sound pressure at 100 m distance outdoors and in the reverberant field indoors? Answer: a) I = P/(2r2) = 0,1/2 1002 = 1,6 10-6 W/m2. p2 = I (n c) = 1,6 10-6 1 400. p = 0,025 Pa. b) I = P/A = 0,1/6 = 0,017 W/m2. p2 = I (n c) = 0,017 4 400. p = 5,2 Pa.

When a sound wave strikes a surface of a room, a proportion of the sound will be reflected. The remaining sound will be absorbed.


Ia Ir
Figure 49: Absorption of a surface.

When a sound wave is incident upon a partition separating two spaces, some of it will be reflected and a small amount will be transmitted through the partition. We disregard the fact that the wall may absorb sound power.

Iin = Ir + Ia = Ia / Iin = Ir / Iin Iin Ia Ir

(8) (9) (10)


= Incident sound intensity, W/m2 = Absorbed sound intensity, W/m2 = Reflected sound intensity, W/m2 = Absorption coefficient = Reflections coefficient



Note: In reality, of course, absorption and transmission occur at the same time in most cases.

Figure 48: Transmission through a partition.

Iin = Itr + Ir (5) = Itr / Iin (6) = Ir / Iin (7) Iin Itr Ir = Incident sound intensity, W/m2 = Transmitted sound intensity, W/m2 = Reflected sound intensity, W/m2 = Transmission coefficient = Reflection coefficient



dB quantity
The terms dB and Bel (=10 dB) are purely mathematical terms and not special measures for sound. If you compare two magnitudes such as A and B, it can be said that A is a certain number of times greater (older, heavier etc.) than B, or a certain number of dB in relation to B. If a great grandfather is 100 years old and his great granddaughter is 1 year old, he is 100 times = 102 = 2 Bel older than her. To be precise, grandfather is 20 dB old (compared to his great granddaughter). Bel is logarithmic to a relationship between two magnitudes. Within acoustics, we talk about a level (L), which is presented in dB, regarding the sound power as well as the sound intensity and the sound pressure (plus vibrations etc.). Therefore, the different kinds of dB values and their reference values must always be kept in mind. Reference values: Sound power Sound intensity Sound pressure

Example 4: Express the answer for the above examples 1 and 2 in dB! Answer: 1) Lw = 10 log(W/W0) dB = 10 log(40/10-12) dB = 136 dB. 2 a) LI = 10 log(I/I0) dB = 10 (1,6 10-6/10-12) dB = 62 dB Lp = 10 log(p/p0)2 dB = = 10 log(1,6 10-6 1 400/400 10-12) dB = 62 dB (Lp similar to LI in a free plane sound wave) 2 b) LI = 10 log(I/I0) dB = 10 (0,017/10-12) dB = 102 dB Lp = 10 log(p/p0)2 dB = = 10 log(0,017 4 400/400 10-12) dB = 108 dB (Lp is 6 dB greater than LI in a diffuse sound field).

Sound reduction index

The term sound reduction index is actually the same as the transmission coefficient but expressed in dB. In order to obtain a positive value of dB, you have to invert the coefficient. R = 10 log(1/) (11)

W0 = 10-12 W I0 = 10-12 W/m2 p0 = 20 10-6 Pa

Levels: Power level Lw Intensity level LI Sound pressure level Lp

= 10 log(W/W0) dB = 10 log(I/I0) dB = 10 log(p/p0)2 dB

R = Sound Reduction Index, dB = Transmission Coefficient

Example 5: The transmission coefficient at a certain frequency is a) for 160 mm concrete = 0.000003

The reference value for sound pressure corresponds to the hearing threshold (at 1000 Hz). The intensity level and sound pressure level are about the same in free plane sound wave in normal air.
Adding dB

b) 13 mm plasterboard = 0.001. What is the Sound Reduction Index? Answer: a) R = 10 log 1/(3 10-6) = 55 dB b) R = 10 log 1/0.001 = 30 dB
The resultant sound reduction index

dB is a logarithmic quantity. One has to revert to linear quantities in order to add or subtract and then go back to the logarithm. Example 3: Five different dB values are to be added: 43, 45, 33, 32 and 38 what is the sum? Answer: Pass to the Bel values first: 4.3, 4.5, 3.3, 3.2 and 3.8 Bel are to be added. Now go to the linear figures and add. 104.3 + 104.5 + 103.3 + 103.2 + 103.8 = 20000 + 30000 + 2000 + 1600 + 6300 = 60000 = 104.8. So the sum will be
4.8 Bel = 48 dB.

If a wall consists of two or more elements (windows, doors etc) with different sound reduction index, we may calculate the resultant sound reduction index for the entire wall by using the following formula: 0 S0 = 1 S1 + 2 S2 + 3 S3 + ... (12)


or expressed in dB for two surfaces: R0 = R1 - 10 log[S1/S0 + S2/S0 100,1(R1-R2)] 0 R0 S0 n Rn Sn = resultant transmission coefficient = resultant sound reduction index = total area = transmission coefficient of element n = sound reduction index of element n = area of element n (13)

Example 7: Practising a piano in the living room produces 95 dB. There is a bedroom in an apartment next to the living room with a common dividing area of 8 m2. Assume that the walls sound reduction index is 55 dB and that the absorption in the bedroom is 12 m2. What is the sound level in the bedroom? Answer: L2 = L1 - R - 10 log(A2/S) = = 95 - 55 - 10 log(12/8) = 38 dB

Example 6: A door with R = 30 dB is placed in a wall with R = 52 dB. The area of the door = 2 m 2 and the wall area (including the door) = 25 m2. What is the resultant sound reduction index?

Answer: R0 = R1 - 10 log[S1/S0 + S2/S0 100,1(R1-R2)] = = 52 - 10 log[23/25 + 2/25 100,1(52-30)] = 52 - 11 = 41 dB

Measurement and calculation of the sound reduction index



Figure 50: Sound insulation between two rooms.

If a wall with the area of S m2 divides two rooms, the sound reduction index can be calculated using the following formula: R = L1 - L2 - 10 log(A2/S) L1 L2 A2 S (14)

= sound pressure level in the source room, dB = sound pressure level in the receiving room, dB = absorption of the receiving room = area of the dividing partition, m2

The sound pressure levels L1 and L2 are measured directly, whereas A2 is calculated using the formula (17), after measuring the reverberation time T. Note: R represents the sound reduction index of a partition (measured in a lab). R' represents the apparent sound reduction index between two rooms (measured in the field).


Room acoustics
Sound propagation

The absorption of a room can be calculated as follows: A = A1 + A2 + A3 +... =Sn n = S m A = Total absorption of the room, m2 A1 = Absorption of the surface 1, m2 S1 = Area of the surface 1, m2 1 = Absorption coefficient for the surface 1 Sn = Area of surface n, m2 n = Absorption coefficient for the surface n, m2 m = The rooms average absorption coefficient S = The total area of the room, m2 Example 8: The desired reverberation time in a classroom is max. 0.8 seconds. Assuming the dimensions of the classroom are 6 10 3 m and that you want to achieve the mentioned reverberation time with just an absorbent ceiling. What is the absorption coefficient required for the absorbent ceiling? Answer: A = 0.16 V/T = 0.16 180/0.8 = 36 m2. = A/S = 36/ 60 = 0.6 (18)

The sound pressure level from a point sound source with a known output power may be achieved by: Lp = LW + 10 log(1/4r2 + 4(1-m)/A) Lp LW r m A (15)

= Sound pressure level at a distance of r, dB = Sound power level from the point sound source, dB = Distance, m = Average absorption coefficient of the surfaces of the room = Absorption of the room, m2

The first term describes the sound pressure level in the direct field and the second term describes the sound pressure level in the reverberant field. A reduction of 6 dB in the sound pressure level in direct field corresponds to a doubling of distance from a point sound source. Compare with a linear sound source (for example, traffic on a road) that provides 3 dB/doubling of distance.

Sound as a wave motion

In many cases, the sound cannot be treated in terms of energy but has to be considered as a wave motion. Air molecules move and vibrate around their equilibrium in a sound wave. The distance between two particles in the same motion phase constitutes a wavelength. The number of oscillations per second makes up the frequency. The following equation describes the relationship: c=f (19)

A fraction of the sound intensity is absorbed when the sound is incident to a surface. Each surface has a certain absorption. A=S (16) = absorption coefficient S = area of the surface, m2 A = absorption of the surface, m2
Reverberation time

The reverberation time is used to characterise the absorption properties of a room. It is defined by the size and the absorption of the room. T = 0.16 V/A (17)

c = speed of sound, m/s f = frequency, Hz = wavelength, m In air, the speed of sound is approximately 340 m/s (depending on the temperature). In gases, there are only longitudinal waves and the speed does not depend on the frequency. In plates (sheet material such as plaster and chipboard) there are also bending waves. The speed of sound in bending waves is dependant on the frequency and increases as the frequency increases.

T = Reverberation time, s V = Volume of the room, m3 A = Absorption of the room, m2 The reverberation time is defined as the time for the sound pressure level to decay by 60 dB, after the sound from a loudspeaker has been turned off or a gun has been fired. A straight line may generally approximate the decay of the sound pressure level.


Hearing and frequency weighting filters

The human ear responds differentially throughout the audio frequency spectrum. Our hearing threshold is about 0 dB in the frequency bands of 1 4 kHz, but is much higher at low frequencies. It is 40 dB at 50 Hz. As a rule of thumb, the lowest change in sound pressure level that can be heard is 3 dB and a change of 10 dB is subjectively heard as a doubling of the loudness. As highlighted in the diagram showing curves representing equal loudness for pure tones, these rules of thumb are very simplified.

Weighting dB

Figure 52: Standardised weighting curves.

Octave Hz 16 31 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000

A-filter -56,7 -39,4 -26,2 -16,1 -8,6 -3,2 0 1,2 1,0 -1,1

C-filter -8,5 -3,0 -0,8 -0,2 0 0 0 -0,2 -0,8 -3,0

Figure 51: Equal loudness curves according to ISO 226.

Table 53: Weighting values for filters A and C.


When measuring, attention must be taken to the sensitivity of the ear by using a filter connected between the microphone and the measuring instrument. Usually, the measuring is done using an A filter, dBA, when there is a risk of hearing damage and discomfort. In apartments, C filters are often used in order to estimate the low frequency noise annoyance.

By noise control the sound is preferable measured in octave bands and by sound insulation problems the measurements are made in third octave bands (1/3 octaves). These bands have a constant relative bandwidth. The following applies: B = fu - fl. (20)

Octave band: fu = 2 fl and fc = 2 fl Third octave band: fu = 21/3 fl and fc = 21/6 fl B fu fl fc = Bandwidth, Hz = Upper band edge, Hz = Lower band edge, Hz = Centre frequency, Hz



Example 9: In a fan plant room, the sound pressure levels were measured in octave bands as shown in the table. The fan plant room shares a partition with a bedroom with an area of 10 m2, and the absorption of the bedroom is10 m2. The sound reduction index of the wall in octave band is shown in the table. What is the sound level in dBA in the fan plant room and in the bedroom? Answer:

Ln = Li + 10 log(A/10) Li A Ln L'n


= Impact sound pressure level in the receiving room, dB = Absorption in the receiving room, m2
= Impact sound pressure level for a floor (lab. measurements) = Impact sound pressure level (field measurements)

A low value for Ln or L'n means good insulation.

125 69 -16 53 20 33 250 62 -9 53 30 23 500 55 -3 52 50 2 1000 52 0 52 55 2000 48 +1 49 60 4000 45 +1 46 60 Octave Sound pressure level A-filter A-weighted level in fan room Sound reduction index A-weighted level in bedroom

The correction term 10 log(A2/S)= 0, so L2 = L1 - R The total level in the fan plant room (logarithmic addition of 53 + 53 + ) = 59 dBA The total level in the bedroom (logarithmic addition of 33 + 23 + 2) = 33 dBA

Sound insulation
There are two types of insulation related to buildings.
Airborne sound insulation

Airborne sound insulation is the expression used when the sound is produced directly to the air, like speech, singing and sound from the radio and TV. Airborne sound insulation is determined from measurements of the sound reduction index (defined earlier) in 21 third octave bands from 50 to 5000 Hz. A high R or R' indicates good insulation.
Impact sound insulation

Impact sound insulation stands for insulation against sound created when someone walks on a floor close to the flat. Impact sound insulation is determined from measurements of the sound pressure level, when the floor is mechanically worked on with a standardised hammer. The level is measured in 21 third octave bands from 50 5000 Hz.


Calculation of Rw
A sound insulation measurement is presented by a curve of R or R' from 50 to 5000 Hz according to the figure. R and R' are given with one decimal. When the weighted value Rw or R'w is to be calculated, the curve has to be weighted in a suitable manner. The weighting performance means that the measured curve is compared with a standardised reference curve between 100 and 3150 Hz. See figure 54. Sound reduction index dB

C terms

The Rw concept is taken to pass the situation when the human voice is the main source of sound. As we have noise sources such as stereos in flats today, the term is insufficient. When it comes to the insulation of outside walls where the source of sound is made up by traffic, the Rw term is also unsuitable. Therefore, the ISO 717 standard incorporates the Rw completed with the spectrum adoption terms or C terms. The complete single-number quantity reads: Rw (C; Ctr; C50-3150; Ctr,50-3150) C and Ctr include the frequency range 100 3150 Hz. The single-number quantities Rw + C and Rw + C50-3150 express the sound insulation in dBA for a noise spectrum with identical levels in all third octave bands. The single-number quantities Rw + Ctr and Rw + Ctr,50-3150 express the sound insulation in dBA for a standardised traffic noise spectrum.
Floor with wooden joists

Frequency Hz
Figure 54: Measured sound reduction index, R, and the reference curve.

Figure 54 and Table 56 show the results from a field measurement of a floor with wooden joists according to Figure 55. The floor covering consist of 14 mm parquet flooring and 3 mm plastic foam.

The reference curve is moved in steps of 1 dB towards the measured curve, until the sum of the deviations below the reference curve is as large as possible, however, not exceeding 32.0 dB. The value of the reference curve at 500 Hz after it has been moved is defined as Rw or R'W for the measured curve.

Figure 55: Floor with wooden joists.



The complete single-number quantity for the airborne sound insulation is as follows: R'w = 58 (-2; -6; -3; -15) dB, so R'w + C = 58-2 = 56 dB, and R'w + C50-3150 = 58-3 = 55 dB The result means that the single-number quantity will drop when care is taken to the poor insulation at lower frequencies.
f Hz R' dB Ref. curve R' Pink A-filter AL-R' noise weighted pink noise L

Calculation of Ln,w
Impact sound insulation is calculated from measurements of the sound pressure level that a standardised hammer produces in the room below. The result can be presented as a curve of Ln or L'n from 50 5000 Hz. Ln and L'n are given with one decimal. When calculating the single-number quantity Ln,w or L'n,w, you proceed in a similar way from the impact sound levels for the 16 frequencies 100 3150 Hz and compare the curve with a standardised reference curve. The same conditions as for Rw apply regarding total deviations max. 32.0 dB in addition to the reading of the reference curve after moving at 500 Hz. Observe that the deviations this time lies above the reference curve. See figure 57. Impact sound pressure level dB

50 63 80 100 125 160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600 2000 2500 3150

21,0 27,9 29,8 37,5 42,7 43,4 48,5 45,4 47,3 50,5 54,0 57,3 59,7 62,6 64,7 65 64,3 64,9 69,7 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 58 59 60 61 62 62 62 62 62
Rw = 58 dB

-11 -11 -11 1,5 0 1,6 0 5,6 6,7 6,5 4 1,7 0,3 0 0 0 0 0 0
R = 27,9 dB

-30,2 -26,2 -22,5 -19,1 -16,1 -13,4 -10,9 -8,6 -6,6 -4,8 -3,2 -1,9 -0,8 -0 0,6 1 1,2 1,3 1,2

-41 -37 -34 -30 -27 -24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -13 -12 -11 -10 -10 -10 -10 -10
log = 0 dB

-61 -64,9 -63,8 -67,5 -69,7 -67,4 -70,5 -65,4 -65,3 -66,5 -68 -70,3 -71,7 -73,6 -74,7 -75 -74,3 -74,9 -79,7
log = -55 dB

-11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11 -11

Frequency Hz
Figure 57: Measured impact sound pressure level, Ln and the reference curve.

Table 56: Calculation of Rw and C50-3100 for the floor in Figure 54. When the reference curve is moved as high as possible without R >32.0 dB, the Rw value will be read at 500 Hz. The pink noise stands for similar levels in each third band. The level is chosen so that the A-weighted level (logarithmic sum of L) is 0 dB (normalised to 0 dB). The logarithmic sum of L-R will be -55 dB that is to say the construction insulates 0- (-55) = 55 dB for the selected pink noise sound spectrum. Therefore, C50-3100 will be 55-58 = -3 dB


C terms

f Hz

L' n dB

Reference curve

The Ln,w concept does not provide a completely correct picture of the impact sound insulation for different types of floors, especially with wooden joists. Above all, you need to pay attention to higher impact sound levels at frequencies below 100 Hz for light wood beams. Therefore, ISO-717 complements Ln and L'n with two spectrum adoption terms or C terms: Ci,100-2500 and Ci,50-2500 These terms take into consideration the measured sound level from the hammer for the entire emitted frequency range and the single-number quantity becomes: Ln,w (C; Ci,50-2500)

50 63 80 100 125 160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600 2000 2500 3150

61,8 64,8 59,7 56,4 58,0 60,0 58,0 58,3 58,3 54,6 52,4 47,6 44,6 44,4 41,4 40,2 38,4 35,1 28,6 log = 70,1 dB 54 54 54 54 54 54 53 52 51 50 49 46 43 40 37 34 L'n,w = 52 dB 2,4 4,0 6,0 4,0 0,3 4,3 1,6 0,4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 L 27,0 dB

Flats separated by floor with wooden joists

Figure 57 and Table 58 show the results from an impact sound level measurement (in the field) on the same light floor with wooden joists shown in Figure 55. The single-number quantity for the impact sound level is: L'n,w = 52 (0; 3) dB, so L'n,w + C = 52 + 0 = 52 dB, and L'n,w + Ci,50-2500 = 52 + 3 = 55 dB The result means that the single-number quantity increases (= poor impact insulation), when the impact sound levels below 100 Hz are taken into consideration.

Table 58: Calculation of Ln,w and C50-2500 for the floor in Figure 55. When the reference curve is moved downwards as far as possible without L> 32.0 dB, Ln,w is read at 500 Hz. Ln -values for the frequency range 50 2500 Hz are summarised logarithmically and provide a total level of 70.1 dB from the hammer. C50-2500 is calculated from C50-2500 = logL -15 - Ln,w = 70 - 15 52 = 3 dB



If a wall or a window shall insulate against traffic noise from the street, the single-number quantity for insulation against traffic noise needs to be as high as possible. Typical value for a highly (thermal) insulated wooden faade is: Rw = 48 (-2; -7; -2; -12) dB The insulation against traffic noise for such a wooden faade would be: Rw + Ctr,50-3150 = 48 - 12 = 36 dB

The speed of sound for free bending waves in the panel is dependent on the frequency. At a critical frequency, the sound velocity in the panel will be the same as the speed of sound in air. At this coincidence frequency, the wave pattern of the panel comes close to the sound waves in the air and the panels insulation capacities decrease. The coincidence frequency is defined by the stiffness of the sheets. In the coincidence area and at higher frequencies, the sound reduction index is affected by the panels internal damping. As an example it may be noted that the coincidence of 13 mm plaster occurs at approximately 3000 Hz. Therefore, if 26 mm plaster should be used, the coincidence frequency moves to lower frequencies, which is unfavourable. 2 times 13 mm plaster is therefore a better solution.
Double leaf partitions and cavity walls

Wall constructions insulated against sound

Single leaf panel

Single leaf partitions are one-layer constructions, one sheet of plaster, glass, brick, concrete etc. The sound reduction index is described by the mass of the wall, the stiffness, the internal damping and interaction with flanking walls as well as the area. Looking only at the mass of the wall panel can make a good first approximation. The sound reduction index according to the mass law is as follows: R = 20 log m + 20 log f - 49 dB m = mass/area, kg/m2 f = frequency, Hz Note: The sound reduction index increases by 6 dB when the mass is doubled and with 6 dB when the frequency is doubled, 6 dB/octave.
Example 10: Calculate the sound reduction index for 1 mm steel plate at 500 Hz.

Cavity walls are a suitable alternative when high insulation is required for a light construction. Cavity wall constructions are defined due to their resonance frequency. Below the resonance frequency, the wall behaves as a single wall in terms of the wall mass, near the resonance frequency the sound reduction curve dips and above the resonance frequency the insulation will be very high.


Answer: R = 20 log m + 20 log f - 49 = = 20 log 8 + 20 log 500 - 49 = 23 dB

Figure 59: Cavity wall with a steel studded frame.


Resonance frequency
The resonance frequency is calculated as follows: fr = 60 (m1+m2)/(m1 m2 d) fr m1 m2 d = Resonance frequency, Hz = Mass of partition wall 1, kg/m2 = Mass of partition wall 2, kg/m2 = Distance between partition walls, m (23)

Sound insulated floors

Floors should satisfy both the demand of high airborne sound insulation and low impact sound levels. As a rule, it is more difficult to meet the impact sound requirement.
Airborne sound insulation

Example 11: A cavity wall with a panel of 13 mm plaster (9 kg/m2) on both sides. If you want a resonance frequency of 63 Hz, what distance would you need between the plaster panels? Answer: fr = 60 (m1+m2)/(m1 m2 d) = 63 = = 60 18/(81 d). d = (60/63)2 (18/81) = 0.2 m

When a highly absorbent material as stone wool is used in the air cavity, the sound insulation increases. The greater the cavity, the greater the benefit obtained from the absorber. Generally you can expect an increase of about 5 10 dB of R with a filled wall compared to an empty wall.

The principles for single leaf walls and cavity walls are also applicable to floors. A homogenous concrete solid floor of 16 cm can be expected to fill the demands of sound reduction index outlined for example in the Swedish regulation. Hollow concrete floors should give the same effect when the weight corresponds to 16 cm of homogenous concrete. Floors with wooden beams may not be expected to meet the standard requirements. In order to achieve high insulation with the wooden beams, the cavity wall principle needs to be applied, i.e. using a free hanging ceiling and a floating floor. In practice you can achieve a good effect by hanging the ceiling (plaster sheets etc.) in resilient clips or studs. A so-called floating floor consisting of a board etc on a resilient layer gives a very good effect.

Like in cavity walls, stone wool absorbers are effective in floors with wooden joist structure if the ceiling is suspended. But the effect is poor if the beams connect the floor on the upper side with the ceiling on the lower side.
Impact sound insulation

Rigid connections
A rigid connection between two cavity walls may have a dreadful effect when the cavity wall panels consist of stiff materials, such as concrete or light concrete. For resilient panels such as plaster sheets, the deterioration is not so severe.
Resilient Skin

The impact sound requirement can be satisfied by using one of two main principles, floating floors or soft floor covering.

The radiation-decreasing resilient skin is a typical way to improve the insulation of a heavy wall. It consists of a resilient panel, for example 13 mm of plaster, which is mounted to a heavy wall such as light concrete with stone wool behind. The mounting may be carried out with ordinary studs, or according to special mounting methods without direct contact to the existing wall. In order to reach a good effect at lower frequencies, the thickness of the stone wool must be increased.

Soft floor covering

This solution to the impact sound insulation problem can only be used when the floor itself satisfy the requirements for airborne sound insulation and it is the normal solution for concrete solid floors. The soft floor covering may consist of a soft fitted carpet or linoleum with a soft underside. The Swedish National Testing and Research Institute (SP) have approved impact sound tested carpets. The carpets have been tested on a concrete floor and received a weighted reduction of impact sound pressure level, Lw dB. If you assume that for a concrete floor Ln,w is about 75 dB, you must have a soft carpet with Lw at least 17 dB in order to reach Ln,w = 58 dB.



Floating floor
A floating floor consists of a board, a slab, etc on a resilient layer. An effective floating floor should have as heavy sheets and as soft resilient layers as possible. If the board consists of a concrete slab and the elastic layer of stone wool, the effect will be excellent. It is extremely important that the concrete slab has no contact to the basic floor. Therefore the resilient layer also must divide the concrete slab from the surrounding walls.

Vibration isolation
A machine such as a fan placed directly on a floor may transmit the vibration as sound throughout the entire building. In order to avoid this, the machine must be placed on vibration isolators made of steel or rubber or a stone wool slab. In order to get an effective isolation, the floor under the springs must be heavy or solid. As a rule of thumb, the weight of the ground floor should exceed that of the machine by approximately 4 times. A wooden joist may have to be fitted with rigid steel joists in order to function as a ground.

Figure 60: Floating floor.

However, you can achieve a fairly good effect with a light and dry floating floor made from chipboard and plaster on layers of stone wool. The effect may be improved by laying the floor on a sheet of sand above the resilient layer, which will increase the mass. If you would try to achieve a high sound insulation, you may need to use a floating floor system.The floating floor is used for both airborne and impact sound insulation.

Figure 61: Vibration isolation.

Sound insulation in buildings

In order to achieve the desired insulation in the building from the chosen constructions, all non-desired sound transport must be avoided. These are of two types:
Flanking transmission

The advantage with a stone wool slab as an isolator is that the internal damping is high, for which reason the amplitude will not be great at resonance. It is important that the vibration insulation is correctly calculated. The resonance frequency for the system(sometimes referred to as natural frequency), fr, Hz should be much lower than the lowest disturbing frequency from the machine fs, Hz.

In a building, a fraction of the sound transmission between two rooms may go by a flanking building element, such as the outer wall or the ceiling. In order to avoid this, the manufacturers instructions must be followed carefully. There are often requirements for a safety margin on the different sound data of the elements in order to avoid the flanking transmission.

Slits, ventilation channels, common tubes for the TVcables, are all examples of objects that may result in sound leakage. This can be avoided by good planning and job performance.


Elastic facilities of stone wool slabs

Choice of slab/thickness

Paroc stone wool slabs are a heterogeneous material. This means that the dynamic elasticity may not be deduced from the measured results of the static compression, but must be measured separately. The principal appearance of the dynamic stiffness sd related to the load, is presented in Figure 62. Observe that sd is constant above a certain load of approximately 500 kg/m2.
sd MN/m3

When choosing the slab and the thickness, the following factors need to be taken into consideration: Compression of the slab under static load Recommended static maximum load of the slab The dynamic stiffness of the slab, sd according to Table 63. In floating floor constructions, the elastic layers should be as soft as possible. According to the test standards, the dynamic stiffness of stone wool shall be presented by a load of 200 kg/m2, when the stone wool is used as a resilient layer under a concrete slab in a floating floor construction.
Dynamic stiffness, MN/m3 Thickness mm 17 25 30 Product PAROC SSB 1 PAROC SSB 2t 12 20 15

30 25 20 15 10 5 0

50 10


1000 Load kg/m2



Table 63. Dynamic stiffness, MN/m3 for Paroc slabs. The value at a load of 200 kg/m2 load shall be used in floating floor constructions with concrete slabs. The value at a load of > 500 kg/m2 in vibration isolation of machines etc. To these values, the dynamic stiffness of the enclosed air must be added.

Figure 62: The principal appearance of the dynamic stiffness related to the load for Paroc stone wool slabs.

The resonance frequency for the vibration isolation system can be calculated from the following formula: fr = (1/2) s/m Hz fr = Resonance frequency, Hz s = Dynamic stiffness, N/m3 m = Load, kg/m2 When stone wool and similar materials are used as springs the dynamic stiffness, s, consists of two components - sd is the stiffness of the material and sa the stiffness of the enclosed air. sa can be calculated for different thickness to the following values.
h mm 5 10 20 30 50 100 sa MN/m3 22 11 6 4 2 1


Example 12: A machine weighs 100 kg and is to be placed on a concrete slab of 1 times 2 metres. It is then placed on a 100 mm stone wool slab with sd = 10 MN/m2 at a load > 500 kg/m2 on top of a concrete floor. If you need a resonance frequency of 30 Hz for the system, how thick must the concrete slab be? Answer: fr = (1/2) sd/m = 30 = (1/2) 10 106/m m =[1/(30 2)]2 10 106 = 280 kg/m2. The machine weighed 100/2 = 50 kg/m2, i.e. the concrete slab shall weigh 230 kg/m2 and should therefore be approximately 10 cm thick. (According to the diagram, sd and fr are probably lower at this lower load. This is only favourable for the vibration isolation).

For further information of material properties and our products see



CE marking
values, but mostly in the form of classes. CE marking is the way to ensure that the product properties are tested and reported in the same way within the whole of the EU.

Standards for thermal insulation products

The European standard EN13162 is applicable to mineral wool that is intended to be used as thermal insulation in buildings. It is called Thermal insulation products for buildings Factory manufactured mineral wool products (MW) Statement of properties. There are 11 materials included in the standard package for building insulation, all with lower declared thermal conductivity, D, than 0.06 W/mK. Common property designations and class limits have now been introduced for all of these 11 materials. A minimum level of internal testing routines has been introduced for manufacturers, sometimes supplemented by external manufacture testing of certain properties.

Why CE marking?
In order to facilitate trade within Europe, harmonized standards have been produced for a number of goods to be freely sold within the whole EU without national restrictions. The standards for thermal insulation products contain relevant product properties. Reference is made to testing methods and the designations and levels of the properties are fixed, sometimes in the form of limiting



PAROC GROUP is one of the leading manufacturers of mineral wool insulation products and solutions in Europe. Paroc products and solutions include building insulation, technical insulation, marine insulation, structural stone wool sandwich panels and acoustics products. We have production facilities in Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland and Great Britain. We have sales and representative offices in 13 countries in Europe.

Paroc building insulation is a wide range of products and solutions for all traditional building insulation. The building insulation is mainly used for the thermal, fire and sound insulation of exterior walls, roofs, floors and basement, intermediate floors and partitions.

Paroc technical insulation is used for thermal, fire and sound insulation in building techniques, industrial processes and piping, industrial equipment and ship structures.

Paroc Fire Proof Panels are steelfaced lightweiht panels with a core material of stone wool. Paroc Panels are used for faades, partition walls and ceilings in public, commercial and industrial buildings.
Warranty: Our recommendations are based on our most up-to-date knowledge and experience. As the products are used outside our control we cannot take responsibility for any damage which may be caused when using the product. This brochure replaces all earlier ones. Because of constant development all information is subject to change without notice.

PAROC OY AB Neilikkatie 17 P.O.Box 294 FIN-01301 VANTAA, Finland Tel. +358 204 55 4868 Fax +358 204 55 4738
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