Some Recent Projects . . .
2021 - Present
Research & Development of Novel Air and Water Barrier Systems
Sustant is a forward-looking product integrator seeking to raise the bar on resilience and high performance. This was a natural fit to our own thinking, especially on matters of Air and Water Barriers. Our mutual goal – to create truly novel solutionss with synergy of form and function.
This is an ongoing project that will disrupt the AWB market. Rather than re-packaging generic low-performing products as many OEMs do, this collaboration aims to take the best that suppliers can muster. And we will co-develop these products using our creative insights and our most stringent performance standards.
As part of a new branding launch in 2022, our role is to serve as innovation lead and technical oversight of all facets of product development, testing, and coordination of code acceptance.
Hygrothermal and Finite Element Analysis of the Back Lattice Wall System
DDS Philly came to us with a unique solution in mind – a steel stud wall assembly that wears its sheathing on horizontal z-girts. The girts are attached intermittently to the back-up framed wall and thermally isolated by highly efficient thermal pads. And the system’s primary insulation layer consists of spray-applied polyurethane foam installed directly against the interior face of the sheathing panels.
We accepted the task of determining whether it worked and how it worked. Our expertise with transient hygrothermal modeling was instrumental in demonstrating robust performance for virtually any climate and exposure condition. Cutting-edge finite element analyses further demonstrated effective R-values and compliance with IECC and ANSI/ASHRAE/ISNEA 90.1. Moreover, the effects of individual components, including fasteners, weresystematically evaluated to offer design insights unattainable by conventional hot box testing.
2020 - Present
Enhancement of the ArmorWall Structural Insulation System
The revolutionary ArmorWall Structural Insulation System consists of a magnesium oxide panel fused to poured polyurethane insulation. In additional to serving as a fastener-base for direct attachment of cladding systems, it is also fully integrated with a factory-applied Air and Water Barrier (AWB).
Already a proven system, MaxLife Industries partnered with B.E. to further enhance its AWB attributes. Some creative thinking and customized testing allowed us to fast-track redevelopment to offer a systems approach to water resistance. The results included the world’s first thin-mil AWB to resist 60-day hydrostatic pressure at 21.6 inches.
Redevelopment also optimized the flashing and sealant systems to offer superior adhesion to the AWB coating and its MgO substrate – even under prolonged immersion and hydrostatic pressure.
2020 - Present
Hygrothermal and Finite Element Analysis of Seismic Wall Panels
HercuWall represents an ICC-certified modular solution comprised of concrete, steel and EPS. It was designed specifically for seismically-active areas and high velocity hurricane zones. We teamed with HercuTech to offer ideas for hygrothermal design – solutions that preserve the panel’s innovation while delivering safe, highly effective performance.
The panel’s unique design required unique perspectives. We began this journey with worst-case, steady-state simulations employing coupled heat and moisture transfer. Through creative thinking and the power of simulation, robust, real-world solutions emerged.
This ongoing project now has its eyes focused on refined 2-D and 3-D analyses. The goal – to offer further simplicity and elegance that speaks to all facets of true resilience.
Comparative Testing of Polyiso and Mineral Insulation
Mineral wool, even in its densest form, has open pore structure. And it must be protected from the elements to avoid water contact and subsequent uptake – conditions that affect both durability and thermal performance. Unrealized to most, its sorption attributes are reported from exposures to high humidity, not bulk water. This seemed unrealistic, arbitrary, and even biased.
So, a group of polyiso manufacturers partnered with us to compare mineral wool and polyiso under full immersion – the very same methods typically used for evaluating foams. And not surprising, we saw sorption values for mineral wool that were orders of magnitude greater than those routinely reported by product data sheets. We also discovered that rewetting of mineral wool greatly extends drying times while causing a further two-fold increase in water absorption. Another example of novel testing and novel results.
2019 - 2020
Comparative Testing of Integrated Water-Resistive Gypsum Sheathing
We partnered with USG to compare water resistance of two gypsum-based integrated WRB panels – SE430 and DensElement. Here, we had two systems that building codes saw as equals, and the industry specified as such. But a deeper dive revealed the fallacies of our industry’s standards – failure to resolve water penetration into the substrate, not thru it.
We devised an industry-changing test method to differentiate the inherent strengths and weakness of these two systems. The method, referred to as the ‘Face Column’, offered an elegant tool useful not only in comparative testing but also as a workhorse in future R&D pursuits. It was also critical in our discovery of plasticizer release and the subsequent effects on water absorption.
This project offered a rare opportunity to guide the industry – to see things more critically and to embrace a different meaning of water resistance.