Welcome to the summary of the most frequently asked questions about the DuPont™ Energain® product and service offering.
Do you have questions that are missing from our current list? Please feel free to send them to us.
This information is based on our current level of knowledge and covers commercial and experimental materials as supplied by DuPont at the date of issue. It cannot replace extensive technical and commercial consultation or own tests. Since conditions of use are outside DuPont’s control, DuPont makes no warranties, express or implied, and assumes no liability in connection with any use of this information.
What is a Phase Change Material (PCM)?
A Phase Change Material (PCM) is a substance with a high heat of fusion which, melting and solidifying at a certain temperature, is capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy. Heat is absorbed or released when the material changes from solid to liquid and vice versa; thus, PCMs are classified as latent heat storage (LHS) units.
What is latent heat?
See glossary of terms.
What is sensible heat?
See glossary of terms.
What are typical applications of Phase Change Materials?
Beside constructions and building applications, Phase Change Materials can be found in a variety of applications nowadays, including transport boxes for temperature sensitive boxes used in food or blood transport, motor pre-warming in automotive applications, personal protection as for example fire brigade clothing or functional clothing like outdoor clothing or shoes, energy production, etc. The common benefit of PCM across those applications is the high heat storage capacity vs. conventional storage media at rather small temperature changes.
How does DuPont™ Energain® work?
DuPont™ Energain® contains a PCM with a melting point centered around 22 °C. Because it has a melting temperature in the operating range of buildings, it can be used to enhance the thermal inertia inside.
What are the advantages of DuPont™ Energain®?
The main advantages of DuPont™ Energain® are: it requires a minimum space for installation, and it allows to design comfortable and energy efficient building.
How can I calculate the specific benefits DuPont™ Energain® could bring to my building?
A dynamic calculation is required to estimate the benefit of thermal inertia in buildings. Commercial softwares are available to run these calculations.
Does DuPont™ Energain® replace insulation?
No, DuPont™ Energain® is complementary to insulation and should be used in a well-insulated structure. The main function of DuPont™ Energain® is not to insulate, but to bring additional thermal mass to a building.
While insulation materials minimise the heat transfer through the building with the external environment, PCM can be used complementary to control temperature and heat gains inside the building. Once the room temperature increases due to solar gains or internal heating sources, the PCM absorbs and stores the heat. It releases the heat when temperature drops in the evening or night hours.
How much thermal mass does DuPont™ Energain® bring to a building?
Comparing DuPont™ Energain® panels with more conventional thermal mass products, a 5 mm DuPont™ Energain® panel behaves approximately like 20 - 40 mm of concrete depending on the temperature.
How many square meters of DuPont™ Energain® do I need to install, in order to have the desired effect of creating additional thermal mass?
The actual amount of DuPont™ Energain® required in a building will depend entirely on the structure of the building, its orientation (N/W/S/E), the number of windows, and the climate zone. Many internal factors must also be considered, including the volume of air in a building or room. As the rule of thumb, the ratio of 0.5-1m² per 1 m³ can be applied. For information on your specific project, the DuPont technical expert team would be happy to assist.
Is there a risk of the paraffin wax leaking out of the panel, for example if a panel is punctured, cut or damaged on a construction site?
DuPont has scientifically designed and patented DuPont™ Energain® with a copolymer, which retains the paraffin wax even when it has fully melted. So there is no risk of the paraffin wax leaking out due to an abrasion. The only requirement stipulated with the panels is to seal the edges (or a puncture) with the DuPont™ Energain® aluminium tape, which is provided with the panels. DuPont™ Energain® can be cut and perforated without direct risk of wax leaking. However, because the wax swells a bit during the phase change, the polymer compound must always remain covered with a protective layer. The panels are delivered wrapped in aluminium foils. Any cuts or damages must be covered with aluminium tapes. It is important to respect this recommendation in order to prevent a potential migration of the wax in porous material like plaster.
Does the panel contain any toxic or hazardous materials?
DuPont™ Energain® does not contain any toxic ingredients. Contact with skin, for example during installation is safe, regardless of temperature. There are no particular toxic safety concerns in working with DuPont™ Energain®. Wearing gloves during the course of the installation is highly recommended to avoid cuts from the sharp aluminium edges, if the panels need to be cut to a different size.
For Material Safety Data Sheet, please click here.
What role does the aluminium lining play?
The aluminium sheets play different functions: protection against fire, rigidify the panel for easier installation, and protection against wax migration.
How much energy does a DuPont™ Energain® panel absorb per square metre over a set period of time?
Typical heat storage capacity = 143 Wh/m², 18 - 24 °C. The panel must be cooled at night, in order to work again the next day.
How often does the panel function over the course of a year?
The panel functions continuously when the temperature in the room is changing. It absorbs heat when the temperature rises, and releases it when the temperature decreases.
What happens if the panel does not completely cool down? Does this affect its efficiency?
If the panel does not completely cool down, it will affect the efficiency in proportion to the degree that it has cooled down. For example, think of a sponge, which is already half-absorbed with water: if the sponge is only half dry, then it can only absorb half the amount of water.
What is the expected lifespan of a DuPont™ Energain® panel in a building?
All tests indicate that DuPont™ Energain® panels will be reliable for a long period of time and will not deteriorate in functionality, over the course of this time.
Can DuPont™ Energain® replace a vapour barrier on the exterior wall?
Yes it can be used as a vapour barrier, because DuPont™ Energain® is covered with a thick aluminium layer. It is vapour tight.
What is the maximum temperature, DuPont™ Energain® thermal mass panels can be exposed to?
DuPont™ Energain® should not be exposed to temperature above 40°C. Above 40°C, the material will become soft, and loose part of its rigidity.
What comfort gain can be achieved with DuPont™ Energain®?
Intensive laboratory and real-life experiments have proven that DuPont™ Energain® can help reducing temperature peaks by up to 7°C and so passively help managing room climate. (More information is available upon request.)
What energy gain can be achieved with DuPont™ Energain®?
Dynamic building simulation and in situ testing have proven that DuPont™ Energain® can help reducing energy costs up to 15% of heating consumption and up to 35% of air conditioning energy costs. (More information on building simulations is available upon request.)
Is the performance of DuPont™ Energain® impacted by the choice of plasterboard and/or wall decoration?
The performance will not be impacted if the facing board remains < 2 cm and is in direct contact (no air gap) with the DuPont™ Energain® thermal mass panel.
How does DuPont™ Energain® react in case of a fire?
DuPont has carried out a series of fire performance testing at independent notified bodies. For detailed performance data, please click here.
In what dimensions is DuPont™ Energain® available?
The panel is available in 5.26 mm thickness, 1 m width, 1.2 m length. The tape is available in 75 µm thickness, 50 mm width, 50 m length.
How can the panels be installed? Are there critical points to consider?
The panels are very similar in dimension and installation as ordinary plasterboard. The panels can be easily fixed through screwing, stapling or nailing to walls and frames (timber, aluminium or steel). For more detailed guidance on the installation, please click here.
Some critical points to consider:
- If the panel is cut to fit dimensions, the edge needs to be taped with the aluminium tape available from DuPont to ensure full functionality of the panel over its life-time.
- When cutting the panel it is recommended to wear safety gloves.
- Any potential damage on the panel needs to be fixed with the aluminium panel before installation.
A detailed guide on instruction is available
Where can the panels be installed?
The panels can be installed on partition and interior walls, ceilings or exterior walls (from inside) and are fitted behind ordinary dry lining plasterboards.
What are typical building applications of DuPont™ Energain®?
Typical applications include buildings with low thermal mass such as lightweight structures of timber, steel or aluminium framed buildings.
What is the percentage of recycled aluminium used in the manufacture of the Energain® thermal mass panel?
The percentage of scrap used can vary from 75% up to 90%.