[GSBN] use of ashes in clay plasters and/or floors
ArchiLogic at yahoo.ca
Thu Feb 5 12:57:56 CST 2009
On Wed, 04 Feb 2009 08:14:57 -0500, Rikki Nitzkin
<rikkinitzkin at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Hi all in a debate on the Spanish list serve, talking about
> "insulating" clay floors, the following observation was made:
> "one more question: I don't know if in the insulation layer (of the
> clay floor) it would be possible to add ashes? I know that ashes are
> frequently used as good insulation in clay ovens-both in the floor of
> the oven and in the clay. Would it be possible to re-use a residue
> (ashes) that many people produce in important cuantities?
> note: here in spain a lot of people still use wood-burning stoves and
> ovens, as well as fire-places...
> Any thoughts or comments?
The ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals lists the thermal conductivity of wood
ashes as being
0.041 Btu/hr*ft*degree (Fahrenheit) @ mass density of 40 lbs/ft^3
The units are peculiar to me because typically, the units for thermal
conductivity of building materials are listed as Btu*inch/hr*ft^2*degF (or
in SIU, W/mK) .
My *guess* is that one would multiply the above value by 12 (ie
inches/foot) to get it into the more familiar units for thermal
conductivity, but that is just a guess.
For comparison, the same table lists the thermal conductivities of:
dry packed earth (@ 90 lbs/ft^3 density) = 0.037
white pine (a softwood, @27 pcf density) = 0.063 ... in units of
Oficial-looking numbers aside, my gut tells me that ashes wouldn't do much
towards providing any insulation value to a clay floor, either if mixed
with the clay or configured as a separate layer underneath the clay.
Why ? Because my guess is that any insulating value that ashes my have is
probably due to trapped air in the interstices between the ash particles
and when compacted (as would be the case in a floor construction, most of
those air pockets would likley be gone.
The other thing is that ashes seem to suck up water quite readily and when
a materialis water-logged, it becomes a better thermal conductor than
But all this is just speculation on my part. I've copied Norbert Senf on
this message and my guess is that he'd know more factual info.
=== * ===
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
< A r c h i L o g i c at ChaffY a h o o dot C a >
(manually winnow the chaff from my edress in your reply)
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