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Old 06-25-2010, 09:19 PM   #15
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I've thought that tight riveting of interior and exterior metal was required for structural strength on Airstreams. Wouldn't placing material between the ribs and the interior metal greatly compromise the structural integrity?

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Old 06-25-2010, 10:50 PM   #16
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The interior rivets aren't nearly as closely spaced as the exterior, hence my belief that putting an insulating material between the ribs and the interior skin will have little or no effect structurally.
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Old 06-26-2010, 02:43 AM   #17
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As I'm getting ready to pull the inner skin from my Globetrotter, I've been thinking about this a lot and I wonder if edge banding tape would work. It is an iron on product used to cover plywood and melamine edges in the cabinet industry. It comes in various widths and is available in real wood or PVC with heat melt glue on one side.
There's also www.fastcap.com with a self-adhesive edgetape callad fastape, or you can use their 2 sided tape to adhere the skins to the ribs. It's strong as $hit and you can get it in long rolls. It's super sticky and very thin, which helps if you are putting it in between the ribs and the skins.

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Old 06-26-2010, 09:20 PM   #18
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options...

Speaking from the building design side of things, there are two things that shock me about what Airstream didnt do in their '70's model trailers. The thermal break is one, and galvanic issues is the other...

With out going into a rant about construction trends in housing, we can break houses and travel trailers into two directions, high tech tightly sealed solutions, and loose and lean. Both have their problems, and climate, personal living preferance etc all add to this...

A travel trailer that is only used in temperate weather, a thermal break will probably have little impact, but is still not a bad idea, as the hot and cold extreams shift more reasons to have them exist.
I lived in an apt in Ann Arbor, MI that had alum sliding doors w/o a thermal break, and ice formed, then melted in my living room...this is happening in your insulation...mold is a huge health hazard, esp. if you camp with kids (lots of mold research out there)
One suggestion I would have 1. dont assume that Airstream's solution is right, but figure its pretty close...I would go to the auto market. Detroit has way more $$ for R&D, they also have more scrutany, and their vehichels are used every day, and hard...so it holds up there, it will in a travel trailer...3M makes some great foamed auto tapes, I used them on a project in Grad School, its not cheap, but, I think that is where I will start.
I loved the window detail, for you scheptics, look at any alum window manufacturer, they all publish details, and show the thermal break, often a "flimsy" piece of nylon, pushed into an extrusion...they hold windows on in 120 mile hour winds, 200 feet off the ground...this is not rocket science.
I think there is some overtightening going on here, which should be expected...there is a lot of time and energy in these babies....
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:28 PM   #19
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Needing thermal break material soon...

I will be putting my skins back on in the next couple weeks and thought I'd check to see what's being discussed here regarding heat conduction. I was actually thinking of trying to track down some sort of neoprene or silicone material since they are both used very effectively in kitchen mits and hot pads. I'd be very interested in trying the EVA material as well. Mine is a 1965 Caravel that's currently undergoing the full Monty thanks to a very rotted floor.

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Old 06-27-2010, 06:14 AM   #20
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I've got chores and will have to quick post this, be back later...

The backer material behind the aluminum thwarts the perfect metal to metal contact pop-rivets need otherwise the liners will have the potion of motion more so than usual.

I have dense silicone equal to the new style thin flexible baking pans (to experiment with) waiting for liners to go back up --- I also have the gnarliest 3M double-sided automotive tape and a couple of flavors of spray adhesive added to the war chest... but the compression of the thermal block and/or deformation of the liners is an obstacle. If the foam/silicone crushes there will be a dimple in the aluminum - and when the foam/silicone degrades from vibration there will be black ring - loose rivets...

I was thinking to double or triple the number of rivets and/or have metal shim standoffs that allow the rivet to fully deform and lock the liners to the rib with zero flex or give from between the two layers...
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:18 AM   #21
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I'm all for making the 'stream more efficient... so I did some simplified calculations, based on my 30' S/O, to get some perspective

640 s.f. insulated metal panel
72 s.f. single pane glass
19 s.f. rib channel

If we assume R values of 3.25 for the insulated metal panel, .91 for the glass, and .61 for the ribs, using BTU/hr=area(temp delta)/R value

2,484 BTU/hr for insulated metal panel
1,028 BTU/hr for the single pane glass
404 BTU/hr for the rib channels

So, yeah, when you're dealing with compact units like our 'streams, every little bit helps, but the infiltration alone on my unit would blow-away any small efficiencies gained in providing a thermal break at the structural channel and skin.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:24 AM   #22
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... the infiltration alone on my unit would blow-away any small efficiencies gained in providing a thermal break at the structural channel and skin.
agree completely, and don't forget the ceiling vents, furnace and misc storage doors.

or the completely OPEN AIR fridge venting and loose install.

also keep in mind YOUR unit already has butyl tape between the ribs and OUTER SKIN...

it has "thermal break" tape, a/s has been using that approach since the mid 90s.
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the real issue for most of the older streams at the monty stage is reducing how HOT the inner skin gets in blazing sun.

that's really the issue many are trying to improve (hot to touch inner skin)

along with the cost of heating/cooling older units.

cheers
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:38 AM   #23
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The real key is in the equasion listed as delta "t" or difference in degrees between the outside skin and the inside air temperature. It doesn't matter to the calculation if it's 110 degrees outside or 38 degrees outside if the inside temperature is set to be 74 degrees. There was a time when I was fluent in these calculations but that knowledge has long since escaped me, but I do remember that the conducted heat or cold was a larger portion than just the R-Value of the rib.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:52 PM   #24
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Bob, you are dead on there...R-Value has little to do with the thermal break, its two different thermal conditions. (I know that stuff is in some books I have but the bottom line is, R-value is one thing, thermal bridging is another, you can have an R-60 wall, that with alum to alum conections outside to in is the equiv of having radiator fins built into your wall.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:55 PM   #25
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I realize this is an older thread but was wondering what you all are currently using for a thermal break on the ribs?

If you have used a thermal break, what did you use and are you happy with it?

I'm thinking of using a ceramic insulating paint like this.
Buy Hy-Tech Insulating additive for paint and make your paint INSULATE
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:02 PM   #26
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I realize this is an older thread but was wondering what you all are currently using for a thermal break on the ribs? If you have used a thermal break, what did you use and are you happy with it? I'm thinking of using a ceramic insulating paint like this. Buy Hy-Tech Insulating additive for paint and make your paint INSULATE
Hmmm. Smart thinking there Lady!
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:20 PM   #27
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I have that paint & the additive powder and was considering priming the whole inside of the shell with a bonding paint with the beads in it, but sealing the seams and rivets probably will be enough. Where it excels is dodging sun heating as a first layer of defense, or covering a huge expanse of interior surfaces for some small degree of near-painless energy savings. The lower temperature differentials in small spaces may not be the best use - though painting the both sides of the liner sheets might yet be in my trailers plan... except...

Using those as a thermal break? The spheres are pretty tough so in between aluminum it'd be like sandpaper, the soft liner sheets would conform to the the texture with vibration and temperature changes and ever-so-slightly loosen, and/or black aluminum oxides would be produced blah blah..

But wait, there's more! Painting the liners and having a mouse-fur-soft foam tape on the rib to protect the paint.... You've got me thinking, THANKS

Also - note they recommend spraying it to help the micro-spheres to settle in an orderly matrix. Just a note when you're wish-booking on the product
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:14 PM   #28
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But wait, there's more! Painting the liners and having a mouse-fur-soft foam tape on the rib to protect the paint.... You've got me thinking, THANKS

Also - note they recommend spraying it to help the micro-spheres to settle in an orderly matrix. Just a note when you're wish-booking on the product
Thanks for the ideas Wabbiteer! No way am I masking off the ribs to spray lol.

Aren't you concerned that a soft foam tape will cause the rivet bond to be weak, not to mention you might end up with dimples..... Hmmm

I'm still trying to find something.....
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