Control Condensation in Asphalt Processing, Storage
BY Amanda Williams
There are many options for both passive and mechanical ventilation to relieve operations of moisture damage challenges. Producers know that moisture slows down asphalt operations, adding cost to production. Asphalt producers can prevent condensation through a combination of efficient ventilation techniques. There are two basic types of ventilation that can be used alone or in combination, depending on individual buildings, to address issues of condensation.
Passive ventilation, when done right, can require very little mechanical ventilation. Wind, buoyancy and air pressure aid in healthy air exchange rates. Passive cooling involves low-cost solutions to structural issues that allow the accumulation of condensation. Passive ventilation includes adding ridge vents and cupolas, which are two simple design details to consider before construction. To create a more efficient airflow exchange, optional end walls and side panels can completely eliminate condensation causing moisture.
Proper air flow in an asphalt storage structure is vital when facing moisture challenges. Not only does effective ventilation create a cleaner, more efficient process, employees benefit by avoiding inclement weather and a stagnant working environment.
Building orientation is a thoughtful and helpful method of optimizing building climate stability. Buildings should be oriented to allow cooling breezes in hot summer months and protection from unwanted winds in cold weather. Noting the prevailing wind patterns of your jobsite throughout the course of the year can help you decide which winds to take advantage of or inhibit. Try to use a Wind-rose diagram that will show statistics of wind speed and direction throughout the year in your location.
Keep in mind during this process, orienting a building by aligning its shorter axis with winds will create optimal wind ventilation. It follows that orienting a building perpendicular to prevailing winds will allow the least amount of passive ventilation. Consider how the sun moves on individual sites and align the building so it is most suitable for air exchange and receiving sunlight.
Orientation of a building is an important thing to understand. There are some basic details to keep in mind when using this strategy. When windows are placed on opposite sides of the building, natural ventilation will be about three times more effective than placing windows on only one side.
Nevertheless, effective cross-ventilation does not just come from perfect building orientation. Internal structural elements can easily be designed to channel airflow throughout the building. These are important design details that can create a major advantage once operations get under way. For example, window design and ventilation louver design affect natural cooling potential.
Some buildings don’t provide sufficient passive ventilation, so mechanical methods are necessary. Fans, evaporative cooling systems, vents and basic duct systems effectively eliminate issues, like stagnant air, mold and excessive moisture. Generally, many businesses find that a combination of both passive and mechanical ventilation is the best way to achieve a moisture-free environment.
Being able to customize a building should be a key factor in the decision making process. Some fabric structure businesses offer dozens of ventilation solutions. Customized ridge vents, side panels and end walls allow customers to design an ideal structure for their business.
When dealing with a professional design team, customers are provided with guidance on each project to keep water and condensation outside of the structure. Design experts can take customers step-by-step to help them create sufficient exterior drainage and custom ventilation systems that incorporate both passive and mechanical solutions. Moisture sensors, fans, exhaust systems, and mechanical vents are all easy mechanical additions to a structure, and will prove to be very helpful.
ClearSpan is one company that has decades of experience in fabric structure design. Sales Manager Geoff Ching said, “Structures with open ends and sides virtually guarantee an interior environment free of condensation. When structures must be fully enclosed, we consider passive ventilation options along ridges and end walls.”
The great benefit to choosing a company with experience is that they understand different industry applications, and how to create the most cost-effective design.
In asphalt operations, cost reductions are largely achieved by optimizing the drying cycle of materials.
The two major benefits of reducing moisture in asphalt mix are lowered production costs and improved quality of the final product. Using the combination of passive and mechanical ventilation systems within a structure will help create a safer work environment and a cleaner, more profitable end product.