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Old 01-11-2015, 08:29 AM   #29
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The model would not be very good. The ribs conduct a lot of heat. Thermal breaks between the skin and ribs would help. The bedroom at the back of my trailer has cloth pads around it for a reason. These things are assumed as transient usage.


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Old 01-11-2015, 08:35 AM   #30
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The model would not be very good. The ribs conduct a lot of heat. Thermal breaks between the skin and ribs would help. The bedroom at the back of my trailer has cloth pads around it for a reason. These things are assumed as transient usage.
The windows conduct a lot of heat as well.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:58 AM   #31
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I'm in the polyurethane spray foam business and have both low and medium density foams at my disposal. I guess I can be thankful that our AS is not in need of a deep retrofit, so I haven't analyzed the expense and physics of a change of insulation, but it's important to regard the insulation and all other materials used in the AS as a system where changing any single component will affect performance of other components. It's possible to have unintended consequences when making "improvements" to the skin of the AS. Again, I haven't worked through a comprehensive hygro-thermal analysis though it's pretty easy to see the massive thermal bridging inherent in the aluminum skin design and construction and realize that improving thermal performance in only the insulated area will be minor in terms of energy conservation.

The real issue in Air Streams and all similar structures is moisture management. Of course bulk water intrusions must be controlled and so must water vapor. Water vapor moves by diffusion and is carried in air currents, and when warm, moist air contacts a surface below its dew point, condensation occurs. The condensed water can accumulate and contribute to corrosion, mildew, and rot of organic materials like wood.

Suffice it to say, the best thing you can do for the health of your AS is to keep it dry. Ventilate when showering and cooking. Dehumidify to 50% RH or less, and keep your baby inside or under cover when possible. Treat it like an airplane, which of course was the inspiration for AS.

Reducing humidity will go a long way to controlling condensation, especially in the South. In the north, it's very helpful to keep the interior surfaces warmer than dew point in order to control liquid water accumulation. This means heat of course. If you're not using your AS, it's a very good idea to leave cabinet and closet doors open so warm air can contact and conduct through as much of the skin of the AS as possible.

Sorry for the diatribe. Heat and moisture flow analysis is a complex science only recently getting much needed attention in the architecture, engineering and construction community, and while there's a lot we can learn from modeling and calculations, there's even more we can gain by simply applying common sense. Keep it warm and dry and please don't obsess over so-called "green" materials. If your beloved AS corrodes and must be scrapped ten years sooner than it should because you used inappropriate materials for thermal and moisture control, how "green" is that?

I just had a thought as I'm wrapping this up. I guess we should treat our Air Streams like our kids and grandkids, keep them warm and dry, right? My two-month old grandson is fussing, and I'll bet he could use a dry diaper ;-)


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Old 04-07-2015, 02:30 AM   #32
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Regarding the thermal bridging of Airstreams, I put 1/4" plywood over the interior walls and it makes a significant difference in thermal efficiency when I compare it to my 78.

I wish I had gone ahead and put the foam insulation between the interior walls and the plywood but I didn't.

Dang it!!


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Old 04-07-2015, 10:09 AM   #33
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Regarding the thermal bridging of Airstreams, I put 1/4" plywood over the interior walls and it makes a significant difference in thermal efficiency when I compare it to my 78.

I wish I had gone ahead and put the foam insulation between the interior walls and the plywood but I didn't.

Dang it!!


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Please elaborate on "the foam insulation" you would use. How thick? What kind? Under all the plywood?

I'll be cladding the interior alum. skin on ours with 1/8-inch birch. Would appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:39 AM   #34
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I was considering some 1/8" stuff I saw on the shelf at Lowe's or Home Depot...

And I should have done it, but I got in a dang big hurry....


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Old 04-07-2015, 12:13 PM   #35
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I was considering some 1/8" stuff I saw on the shelf at Lowe's or Home Depot...

And I should have done it, but I got in a dang big hurry....


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Well, from the pictures I have seen of your trailer, the 1/4" worked just fine, and looks great! I'm getting Baltic Birch through a local hardwood supplier, about $25.00 a sheet (4x8). It's light, takes a nice oil finish, and bends very nicely. But what about the foam between the plywood and the aluminum walls? I'm curious to know about this. It must be something very thin. . . .
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:32 PM   #36
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But what about the foam between the plywood and the aluminum walls? I'm curious to know about this. It must be something very thin. . . .
Maybe this… Polyethylene - Closed-cell foam: insulation, packaging, foam toysQuarter-inch thick, made of the same stuff that forms the core of Prodex sheets, just without the aluminum foil facings.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:59 PM   #37
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That brings up the question of just what a thin layer of foam between the aluminum wall and the plywood would actually achieve. An additional thermal and/or sound barrier? The plywood itself would have the same qualities. I've never thought of foam in the middle of the sandwich, but it might be a good idea. One reason for attaching the 1/8" plywood is that I won't have to spend so much time cleaning the surface of the interior skins when I put them back on. The foam would also cushion the interface between the bumps of the alum. skin rivets and the plywood, too.

I see that the Foam Factory also has this and in 1/8" sheets:
Foam Insulation, Padding, Closed-Cell Foam - Polyethylene Roll

I like the idea of the thinner foam. Seems like it would be easier to use in between.
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