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The Influence of Dust on the Absorptivity of Radiant Barriers
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The purpose of this project was to model and quantify the increase of the absorptivity of radiant barriers caused by the accumulation of dust on the surface of radiant barriers. This research was the continuation of a previous work by the author at Texas A&M University in which a radiation energy balance inside the attic enclosure was developed. The particles were considered as flat, circular planes, all having the same radii. That early model showed that there was a linear relationship between the fraction of area of the foil covered by dust and the mean absorptivity of the dusty radiant barrier. In the present work, it was found that the assumption of treating the dust particles as plane circles, underestimated the effective area of the particles by about 20%. Experimental measurements indicated that dust particles achieved the same temperature as the radiant barrier. The new model used the linear relationship just described, and simulated the dust particles as flat circular planes having random radii and laying in random locations within the radiant barrier surface. The new model calculated the fraction of radiant barrier area covered by particles using a digital array in which the clean barrier was represented as zeroes and the dust particles were represented as a set of ones appropriately dimensioned inside the array. The experimentation used natural dust and Arizona Road Test Dust. Using an infrared emissometer, the emissivities (absorptivities) of the clean and dusty barriers were measured and using an electronic scale, the dust loading was measured. An electron microscope was used to experimentally find the fraction of radiant barrier covered by the dust particles to correlate the experimentally found absorptivity with the experimentally found fraction of dust coverage. The limited experimental data available were also used to correlate the absorptivity of the dusty radiant barrier with the time of dust accumulation and the location of the barrier inside the attic. A linear relationship between the absorptivity and the time of dust accumulation was found that can be applied to predict future barrier effectiveness based upon the rate of dust accumulation for a given location.
Noboa, Homero L. (1993). The Influence of Dust on the Absorptivity of Radiant Barriers. Available electronically from