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Massimilliano 03-16-2013 10:26 PM

Pumice as Insulation
 
Greetings from New Zealand, a country with more than its fair share of volcanoes. As a result we have a lot of pumice.
Does anyone have any advice on using pumice as insulation? Can I use the same mix as for for perlite or vermiculite concrete (5 pumice:1 cement)

Jimney 03-25-2013 05:37 AM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
I am trying to find out the same thing. Good luck. I think it will be ok as long as the pummice is not to fine. Otherwise it would be like using sand.

david s 03-25-2013 06:31 AM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jimney (Post 148640)
I am trying to find out the same thing. Good luck. I think it will be ok as long as the pummice is not to fine. Otherwise it would be like using sand.

Actually I think it 's the opposite. Fine vermiculite is easier to make a workable mix than coarse stuff. Suggest you crush it up to grains of max size of about 6mm and discard powder. That's the usual technique of using crushed insulating firebricks as aggregate. It's time consuming hard work but should work ok.

Tscarborough 03-25-2013 06:51 AM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Crushed pumice is not an insulator. Pumice in macro form is an insulator because of the millions of tiny air bubbles. Crush it, and you just have glass dust.

david s 03-25-2013 01:10 PM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by david s (Post 148642)
Actually I think it 's the opposite. Fine vermiculite is easier to make a workable mix than coarse stuff. Suggest you crush it up to grains of max size of about 6mm and discard powder. That's the usual technique of using crushed insulating firebricks as aggregate. It's time consuming hard work but should work ok.

If you can break it up to small grains as I suggested you will still have grains containing air, but discard the dust.

shuboyje 03-25-2013 04:24 PM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Just covered this in a recent thread. The data I can find says pumice has a thermal conductivity of 0.58 in the metric scale. Perlite is 0.031 and Vermiculite is 0.058. As you can see there is a full order of magnitude between the insulating ability of Perlite and Vermiculite and that of Pumice.

Tscarborough 03-25-2013 05:35 PM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Again, you have to go back to what your design criteria are. If you want to use it as an aggregate in a structural concrete member, then it is considered insulating (and lightweight). If you are using it as insulation, then it is not so good, and the smaller you pound it, the worse it is.

In macro form, shaped into bricks, it is not that bad if it is cheap and available, and in aggregate (not fines) form it makes a decent insulation for lightweight structural concrete.

Tscarborough 03-25-2013 08:27 PM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Yes it is, for the structural slab, but do not confuse that with using it as an insulator. Using the criteria for structural concrete, it is considered an insulator, using the criteria of insulation, it is a poor choice in granular form that gets worse the finer the granules.

david s 03-26-2013 12:02 AM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by shuboyje (Post 148692)
Just covered this in a recent thread. The data I can find says pumice has a thermal conductivity of 0.58 in the metric scale. Perlite is 0.031 and Vermiculite is 0.058. As you can see there is a full order of magnitude between the insulating ability of Perlite and Vermiculite and that of Pumice.

I couldn't find appropriate data on the thermal conductivity of pumice, but with such a high number you quoted, I'm sure if you take another look it will be referring to concrete with pumice added as an aggregate rather than pumice alone.

If pumice is freely locally available and folk have the energy and time to process it into a material suitable for insulation then I think that is the noble path to take.

Massimilliano 05-25-2013 02:02 AM

Re: Pumice as Insulation
 
Thanks guys. For some reason i was emailed only one of your responses, so I went ahead with using it as underfloor insulation to start with. This 100 mm thick base sits on a 90mm thick concrete slab
I used 7 mm pumice and mixed a fairly dry mix at 5:1 with cement. It had the consistency of fluffy popcorn (but smaller). I added beer bottles to the base and lightly packed the pumicecrete around them.
I didn't tamp the pumicecrete down as that would remove the air voids, which would lessen the insulation.
The concept looks good as it appears to have a lot of air in it.
I believe it can only be better than sawdust and clay mixes.
Incidentally, in New Zealand, hot water cylinders used to be slated with pumice. That's where I got the idea.


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