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Specialised Laboratory

Specialised Laboratory

The department has an active Thermal Insulations Testing Laboratory established under the NAFETIC Scheme of AICTE. The National Laboratory for Testing and Development of Thermal Insulations was established with financial support from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the National Facilities in Engineering and Technology with Industrial Collaboration (NAFETIC) Scheme. The Laboratory has been actively involved in providing consultancy and testing services to various industries and organisations in the country since 2009. The facility includes testing of various properties of thermal insulations as per various national and international standards.

Among the equipment available in the Laboratory includes a Guarded Hot Plate Apparatus for measuring thermal conductivity of insulation materials as per ASTM/ISO standards. The facilities available are also useful in the development of new thermal insulations. Students undertaking dissertation/project work at under-graduate and post graduate levels also utilise the facility.

It aims to accurately determine the various properties and characteristics of thermal insulations as per national and international testing standards and suggest their appropriate utilisation thereby leading to the saving of energy and protection of the environment.

It also aims to conduct research and develop effective thermal insulations including the usage of eco-friendly and indigenous materials for various applications.

The quality of thermal insulation is of prime importance for its effective usage and unless we evaluate and test the insulation properties and characteristics, which help to achieve the quality, there is little chance of improvement of their performance. Also in order to compete globally, it is essential that properties of insulations be evaluated for acceptability according to various national and international standards. In this regard, a central and neutral facility for the testing of various properties of thermal insulation materials was required to be created in the country.

In order to fulfill the above requirements, a proposal under the National Facilities in Engineering and Technology with Industrial Collaboration (NAFETIC) Scheme was submitted to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for the establishment of the Laboratory. The proposal was accepted by AICTE which has partially funded the Laboratory.  Also this project is in collaboration with industries and MOUs have been signed with more than 30 industries including Amol Dicalite Ltd., Lloyd Insulation Ltd., etc. for its effective utilisation and support.  The total cost of the project is more than Rs. 160.00 lacs. The Nirma Education and Research foundation (NERF) has funded the major expense of the laboratory besides providing all the infrastructure needed for the establishment of the Laboratory.

The prestigious set up at this laboratory consists of Guarded Hot Plate System which is used for determining thermal conductivity of insulations in the temperature range of – 20°C to 500°C and conductivity range of 0.015 to 2.5 W/mK, according to ASTM C 177 and ISO 8302 within an accuracy of ± 4 %. The laboratory is equipped to test various salient properties of thermal insulations on test set ups prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standards and according to the procedure laid in the standards.

The Institute of Technology, Nirma University is represented by a faculty member being one of the members of CHD 27 Thermal Insulation Sectional Committee of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The laboratory possesses a Guarded Hot Plate system to test thermal conductivity of insulations in the conductivity range 0.015 to 2.5 W / m K and temperature range 65°C to 200°C as per ASTM C 177 and ISO 8302.  The GHP System is backed up by a 10 kVA UPS.

Salient features of Guarded Hot Plate Method for thermal conductivity determination include:

  • It is an absolute method for the measurement of the thermal conductivity of thermal insulation material.
  • The most common measurement consists of symmetrically arranged guarded hot plate where the heater assembly is sandwiched between two specimens. The guard heaters provide a unidirectional transmission of heat and prevent the heat to flow in other directions.
  • Thermal conductivity, k = heat flux/temperature gradient
  • Standards: ASTM C 177 ; ISO 8302 ; BIS 3346 ; BS EN 12667

The laboratory has the facilities of testing mineral wool, expanded polystyrene, rigid cellular insulations and perlite powder as detailed below:

Testing of Mineral Wool as per IS 3144 : 1992

  • Determination of thickness.
  • Determination of resistance to compression.
  • Determination of bulk density and bulk density under specified load.
  • Test for thermal conductivity.
  • Determination of shot content.
  • Determination of moisture content on as received basis.
  • Determination of moisture absorption.
  • Incombustibility Test.
  • Determination of carbon.
  • Determination of sulphur.
  • Determination of settling due to vibration and jolting.
  • Determination of water – vapour permeance.
  • Determination of fiber diameter.
  • Determination of alkalinity.

Testing of Expanded Polystyrene as per IS : 4671 : 1984

  • Determination of compressive strength at 10% deformation.
  • Determination of cross breaking strength.
  • Determination of water vapour permeance.
  • Determination of thermal stability.
  • Determination of water absorption.
  • Test for flammability.

Testing of Rigid Cellular Insulation as per IS : 11239 (Part 1 to 12) : 1985

  • Determination of apparent density.
  • Determination of dimensional stability.
  • Determination of water vapour transmission rate.
  • Determination of volume percent of open and closed cells.
  • Determination of heat distortion temperature.
  • Determination of flame height, time of burning and loss of mass.
  • Determination of water absorption.
  • Determination of flexural strength.
  • Determination of compressive strength.
  • Determinations of horizontal burning characteristics.

Determination of apparent thermal conductivity of powder type insulation under vacuum

  • The laboratory possesses liquid nitrogen boil off calorimeter, vacuum module and all the necessary instruments to test apparent thermal conductivity of powders such as perlite, vermiculite, etc.

The laboratory has the necessary facilities such as Guarded Hot Plate apparatus, ovens, humidity chambers, computerized compression testing machine, etc. required to test the properties and characteristics of other type of insulations. Besides at the request of a customer, the testing of insulations according to other standards as well as according to their specific requirement can also be carried out.


Name of  Equipment Major Specifications
Guarded Hot Plate System Temperature : -20 to 500°C K : 0.015 to 2.5 W / m-K
Accuracy : + 4%
Vacuum Pumping System Ultimate Pressure: 1 x 10-6
Computerized Compression Testing Machine Capacity: 10 kN
Insulation Thickness Measuring Gadget IS: 3144:1992
Diameter: 3 mm, Length: 200 mm
Water Absorption Setup IS: 11239: 1988 (Part ? 9)
Diameter: 120 mm, Height: 240 mm
Apparatus for determination of heat distortion temperature IS: 11239 (Part 6): 1985
Density Determination Apparatus IS: 3144: 1992
O.D. 118.8 mm, Height: 276 mm
Boil Off Calorimeter Diameter: 219 mm
Height: 1000 mm
Vibration Machine Amplitude: 1mm, Frequency: 24 Hz
Hot Air Oven Size: 0.5×0.5×0.5 m
Temp. range: 50 to 250°C ± 1°C
Hot air Oven (Drying) Size: 0.5×0.5×0.5 m
Temp. Range : 550+10°C
or + 2% whichever is less
Bending Test Fixture for Compression Testing Machine IS: 11239 (Part 10): 1985
Flame Height, Time of Burning and Loss of Mass Determination Apparatus. IS: 11239 (Part 8):1985
Vibration meter RMS velocity: 0 ? 199.9 mm / sec
Displacement: 0 ? 1999 microns Pk-Pk
Frequency range: 10 Hz ? 1 kHz
LCD Display: 3.5 digit
Incombustibility Test Apparatus IS: 3144: 1992
Climatological Chamber Size: 0.5×0.5×0.5 m
Temperature: 27 ± 2°C, RH: 65 ± 5%
Climatological Chamber Size: 0.5×0.5×0.5 m
Temperature: 23 ± 2°C to 70 ± 2°C,
RH: 50 ± 2% to 100 ± 2%
Climatological Chamber Size: 0.5×0.5×0.5 m
Temperature: 38 ± 0.5°C, RH: 90 ± 2%
Projection Microscope Magnification: 125X to 1000X
Jolting Machine Amplitude: 25mm, Frequency: 1 Hz
pH meter pH: 0 to 14.0 pH
Accuracy : ± 0.01 pH unit or ± 1 mV
Apparatus for determination of shot content by elutriator IS 3144: 1992
Sulphur determination apparatus IS 3144: 1992
Apparatus for determination of impenetrable volume IS 11239 (Part?5) ? 1985
Carbon determination apparatus IS 3144: 1992
Apparatus for Determining Horizontal Burning Characteristic IS 11239 (Part?12) ? 1988


Leading industries and research organisations have utilized the testing and consultancy services of Thermal Insulations Laboratory, which include:

  • Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad
  • Engineers India Limited (EIL), New Delhi
  • Shreeram Equitech Pvt Ltd., (For BHEL Project) Indore
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd. , Ahmedabad
  • National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Palanpur
  • Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Ahmedabad
  • Reliance Industries Ltd, Jamnagar
  • Stallion Enterprises (for Honeywell Int. Foam Div., Pune)
  • Heco Panelling systems Pvt Ltd, Bangalore
  • Lloyd Insulation (I) Ltd., New Delhi
  • Thermax Ltd., Manglore
  • Kafer Punj Lloyd Ltd. Gurgaon
  • Samsung Engg. Co. Ltd. Dahej
  • Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd., Banglore
  • Sintex Industries Ltd., Kalol
  • Gajra Insulations, Mumbai
  • Amol Dicalite Ltd., Kadi
  • Ice Make Refrigeration, Ahmedabad
  • Clisim Aircon Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
  • Perlcon Premix Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad
  • Harsha Engineers, Ahmedabad
  • Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete India Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad
  • Japeva Engg. Pvt. Ltd., Chennai
  • UOP India Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon