Influence of climate
All kinds of material are affected by the surrounding climate. Ecophon products are designed for indoor use. Hence, the key climatic factors for consideration are moisture, heat and microbiological activity.
Moisture, heat and microbiological activity affect the ceiling
Too high relative humidity is not comfortable for people
Special panels and accessories should be used in aggressive environments
The core material in all Ecophon tiles is glass wool that has been treated to be water-repellent. Therefore, the material does not take up water by capillary action and the absorption of moisture from the air is relatively low. Water that occasionally may penetrate the tiles (e.g. in conjunction with cleaning) dries out quickly thanks to the open structure of the glass wool material.
1. Deflection of ceiling tiles that are deformed after absorbing moisture.
2. Glass wool is one of the materials most resistant to moisture. Thus, glass wool ceiling tiles are dimensionally stable and stay flat even in environments with high or varying air humidity.
Also Ecophon Connect grids and accessories are developed to withstand high humidity.
Ecophon products should be stored indoors. If, temporarily, they have to be stored outdoors, they need to be protected against moisture.
If the tiles are to be glued, the temperature must be 15-25°C during installation.
The panels do have a thermal resistance. This may influence the temperature and the relative humidity in the room and in the plenum, and should therefore be considered in the moisture and thermo-technical design. Ventilating the plenum will prevent condensation.
Temperature, absolute humidity and relative humidity (RH)
The relative air humidity varies depending on the time of year, temperature and climatic zone.
Relative humidity RH, expressed in %, is the ratio of the actual amount of moisture in the air to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at a given temperature. A relative humidity of 100% means the air can hold no more water, i.e. condensation forms, and a relative humidity of 0% indicates there is no moisture in the air.
At high relative humidity, there is a serious risk of condensation, because of the temperature difference over the ceiling. At 95% RH and 30°C, a temperature drop of only 1°C will cause condensation. The presence of liquid water might have many undesired effects, such as stains from water-soluble substances on the visible surface of the ceiling.
There is a physical relationship between absolute humidity, temperature and relative humidity. The warmer the air, the more water vapour it can hold. In other words - a certain absolute humidity means a lower relative humidity at a high temperature than at a low. (See graph).
1. Absolute humidity (g/m3)
2. Temperature (°C)
Relationship between temperature, absolute humidity and relative humidity.
Ceiling design for humid areas
In order to minimise the risk of problems with corrosion, mould and aesthetic performance in a building, the relative humidity should not exceed 70-80% more than temporarily. In any case, it is not comfortable for people to be in environments with any higher relative humidity than this. In comparison, the average relative humidity in a rain forest is 75-90%.
When moisture is increased, as in professional kitchens, swimming pool facilities, shower areas or food preparation industries, the air humidity can rise substantially and occasionally reach saturation which means condensation forms. The indoor climate in such rooms should therefore be carefully surveyed before the ceiling systems are installed.
Most Ecophon ceiling tiles are tested in accordance with the methods and instructions stated in ISO 4611. The majority of the tiles can withstand a permanent relative air humidity of up to 95% at 30°C without warping, deflecting, sagging or delaminating (see Moisture resistance table for details). Occasionally, for example during temporary damage to air-conditioning plant, etc., the above limits for air humidity/temperature can be exceeded without deterioration of the products or their performance. However, this is only possible provided the tiles are allowed to dry out in between.
Ecophon does not present higher values than 95% RH at 30°C due to technical and physical limitations in the testing methods. The fact is, that if the RH exceeds 95%, the moisture equilibrium is extremely sensitive also to very small climate variations in the testing chamber. For each specific material, the moisture content can be shown in a sorption curve. The sorption curve is very steep at high RH, and a hysteresis effect exists. The moisture content in the material is therefore unpredictable. Thus, attempts to carry out tests at a relative humidity >95% will fail, as the relative humidity will be unstable and hence give results that are not reliable. Leading testing institutes, such as SP (Swedish National Testing and Research Institute) and TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) cannot perform tests with sufficient accuracy at RH>95%.
1. Moisture content
2. Relative humidity (%)
3. Hysteresis effect
ISO 12944-2 deals with the classification of the principal environments to which steel structures are exposed. All Ecophon Connect grids and accessories can withstand a C1/C2 environment according to this standard.
The Connect C3 grid system has an extra anti-corrosion protection, which makes the products withstand a C3 environment.
Extreme environments and micro-organisms
Sustained high temperatures and/or air humidity or environments with aggressive gases or other substances may affect the ceiling systems´ appearance and properties.
In cases where regular washing or hosing of the ceiling is necessary specially designed systems, Ecophon Hygiene, should be used. In these environments, and in environments with high air humidity grid systems with additional corrosion protection, Ecophon Connect C3, should also be installed.
The risk of mould and bacteria is an important consideration in environments with high relative humidity. Ecophon products themselves do not serve as a natural breeding media for mould and bacteria. By keeping the environment of the ceiling clean, and having a controlled climate below the critical humidity and temperature level, the risk for these micro-organisms is reduced considerably.
Mould and bacteria need special growing conditions
2. Right temperature
3. Growth media
= Risk for mould and bacteria
Ecophon tiles have been tested for microbiological growth according to the ASTM-standard G 21-96 at SLU (the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). The standard rates the products in 6 classes 0-5. All tested Ecophon tiles were in class 0, which means that they were unaffected.
The Moisture Resistance table shows which climate the different products can withstand without warping, deflecting or delaminating. Note, however, that micro-organisms can also be active in less humid climates.
Please note that the Hygiene products have the same climate limitations as for example the Focus and Master products, but the Hygiene products can withstand more frequent and extensive cleaning. Also see chapter Cleanability.Moisture resistance
Moisture resistance table