#1  
Old 03-16-2013, 10:26 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: New Zealand
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Default 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)
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:37 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Default 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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:31 AM
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Default Re: Pumice as Insulation

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Originally Posted by Jimney View Post
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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:51 AM
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Default 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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Pumice as Insulation

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Originally Posted by david s View Post
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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:24 PM
Journeyman
 
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Default 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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:35 PM
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Default 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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:27 PM
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Default 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.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: Pumice as Insulation

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Originally Posted by shuboyje View Post
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.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:02 AM
Serf
 
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Default 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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