Solar systems are gaining increasing importance as an alternative energy source - especially in Europe. The most solar power systems worldwide are produced here. In order to ensure that they provide continuously high yields, they should be protected from energy losses. Special pipe insulation has proven to be up to the elevated demands of solar applications.
Weatherproof, UV-resistant and heat-resistant up to 150° C - high temperature EPDM foams provide reliable insulation in solar applications. Thanks to their flexibility, they also insulate lines which are difficult to access and assure constant solar yields.
Insulation must be even more optimised for solar thermal applications than anywhere else. Since the pipelines are partially exposed to the open air, they are subjected to various weather influences. If the insulation becomes soaked, its conductivity also increases, wherein its thermal performance capacity is reduced. Since moisture can form on its exterior, an additional covering in the outside area alone is often insufficient. Insulation based on synthetic rubber is non-hygroscopic, thanks to its closed-cell structure. It maintains a thermal conductivity equilibrium and retains its insulating capacity even under the influence of moisture.
UV radiation, humidity, heat, and other climatic stress can cause a great deal of damage to insulation. Therefore, good weather resistance is extremely important. This can be tested with accelerated artificial weathering of the insulating material. However, since laboratory tests cannot replicate all real influential factors - due to regional differences - additional endurance testing under extreme conditions is recommended.
The construction site situation is often more complex outside than inside. If pipelines are routed in areas which are difficult to access, the insulation becomes a challenge. FEF insulation tubes can be the solution, because they are flexible and adhere very well. Applied at high temperatures, the material is also UV-resistant and ready for use in exposed locations even without an additional coating. However, an additional covering is recommended for high thermal loads, such as a sheet metal casing.
The thermal resistance of the insulation is also an important factor. High heat resistance is essential, because solar systems generate significantly higher temperatures at peak times than hot water lines and other applications. FEF insulation has proven to perform particularly well in this connection. It also withstands threshold temperatures of up to 150° C if the material has been optimised for this area of application. This can be guaranteed when the material is based on EPDM or acrylate rubber. In addition to continuous application temperatures of 150° C, short-term loads of up to 175° C are also permissible.