Sunday, August 26, 2012

Acoustic Ceiling Panels: Improve the Privacy of Your Corporate Meetings

Business meetings include sharing of confidential information, which can damage the company's success if overheard. If you are planning to build your own commercial structure or improve your current one, soundproofing is an important factor to take in to account. Ensure with reliable panels that which is discussed during board meetings remains within the room. They provide highly effective solution to prevent reverberations.

Improve Privacy and Aesthetics

Acoustic ceiling panel systems are made of sound-absorbing material. This prevents reverberations; that is, sound waves bouncing off the ceiling. The feature makes your discussions inaudible to those outside. In addition, noises from streets or the workplace do not disturb your meeting. Acoustic insulation options are very popular in the business world.

Another added benefit of the ceiling panels is that they enhance the aesthetics of commercial interior spaces. They are suspended from the concrete ceiling and cover wires, fixtures, pipes, and construction blemishes above them, giving the room a clean finish. They are easy to maintain and clean, and can be painted to suit the interiors.

Overview of Acoustic Ceiling Panels

Sound waves are capable of being deflected, reflected, and absorbed. Acoustic ceiling treatment deals with these characteristics of sound. Panels systems utilise specialised materials to diminish or block excessive and unwanted sounds. There are different types of acoustic insulating materials; the most popular being viscoelastic polymers and porous foams. These materials are not hard and rigid like concrete, which augments reverberations. Instead, they tend to warp slightly when sound waves reach them. Moreover, small dents are created to improve their audio absorbing features. Unlike concrete, wood and other hard materials, soundproofing solutions are lithe.

Choose Quality Soundproofing System

When choosing sound insulation for your corporate boardroom, make sure to consider high quality. Your business meetings are top-secret affairs, which is why only the best panel systems should be integrated. There are countless suppliers of acoustic insulation, but not all guarantee 100% satisfaction. If your prime reason for sound panel installation is to maintain business secrecy, avoid cheaper alternatives of soundproofing. Buy acoustic solutions of a reputable brand, which also offers professional installation service of the system to help prevent information theft.

With high-tech sound insulating options available today, you can readily find the perfect choice for your corporate needs. Besides soundproofing, panel systems are also known to provide thermal insulation, which cuts down on the utility bills. There are many benefits to soundproofing your office, making it worth the investment.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Precast Concrete Retaining Walls

Precast retaining walls are now widely used across a variety of industries, most notably construction and agriculture. Ease of construction and durability are the products two main benefits.

Precast concrete products in general have some obvious benefits over pouring concrete on site. The ability to make something in a factory controlled environment makes it so much easier to produce a good quality product with the right type of finish. This means products can then be delivered to site and installed with minimal hassle.

Concrete retaining walls are used across a variety of areas, one of the most common uses is creating storage bays for aggregates and similar products. Once a flat base has been created, the product can then be installed in a number of ways. The type of product used will depend on what needs to be achieved, the standard product tends to be an L shaped retaining wall unit. This is more often than not bolted down to a concrete slab. The slab itself needs to be approximately 200mm thick or more. The units are then put into place, and then a drill is used to drill out the fixing points. Once this is complete, the holes need to be blown out, and then resin is placed in, and threaded bolts are placed into the resin and then it is all left to go off. The final stage is then tightening the nuts onto the threaded bars.

One potential issue which can arise from this method of installation is that the foot of the units is a potential hazard to machinery or diggers. It also means that the fixing points are left exposed to potentially corrosive materials. If either of these things is an issue, then the other method of installation is to cast in the retaining walls units into the floor slab. This means the units will be tied into the floor slab, and avoid the problems discussed earlier.

The nature of precast concrete means that the units should last for a long time, depending on how careful people are when using them. Obviously diggers can make a large dent in concrete if people are not careful! Barring heavy handed machine drivers, the units will last a very long time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cooling Towers: The Perfect Atmosphere for Failure

Cooling towers - the name itself gives the air of the opposition to fire. Their existence is for the soul purpose of removing heat. However, cooling towers contain very real fire hazards: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) fill; Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) walls (FRP is often mistaken as an acronym for fire resistant plastic), fan stacks, fan decks, fan blades, louvers, partitions, and catch basins; Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polypropylene nozzles; and wood. Cooling towers are susceptible to fire when they are online or off. When a cooling tower is online, there are several dry areas within the building with fire hazards available to fuel a blaze. When cooling towers are offline, they are at greater risk for fire with a larger volume of dry space to invade. Don't wait until a fire erupts in a cooling tower to find out the fire sprinkler pipes have failed.

Causes: Cooling Tower Pipe Deterioration

Pipe corrosion and scale formation are part of the lifecycle of pipes within a cooling tower. The humid living conditions of these pipes are the perfect catalyst for the deterioration of fire protection pipes. In fact, without pipe and general metal component up-keep, it is estimated that a cooling tower will need to be completely torn down and rebuilt approximately every twenty years. There are three main triggers of pipe break-down in a cooling tower.

1. Contaminated Water
Many cooling towers are open and exposed to the outside environment. Air pollution particulates and dissolved gases contaminate the water. When evaporation occurs, the pure vapor water enters the atmosphere, while the contaminated water remains in the cooling tower in a concentrated state. This accelerates the corrosion process.

The corrosion process is dictated by the velocity of the water. High velocity water increases the volume of corrosion by transporting oxygen and particulates to the metal pipes at a quick rate, providing the opportunity to contaminate a larger volume of piping. When the water velocity is low, it localizes the particulate distribution, causing greater damage to a smaller area. The deteriorating matter is sitting in one spot, giving it the opportunity to eat away at the pipe in a concentrated manner.

Contaminated water affects the pH balance of the water, providing new opportunities for deterioration and corrosion.

2. pH Balance
Water in cooling towers comes from a variety of sources, and the source will dictate the pH balance of the water. The damage caused by particulates becomes exasperated when the water loses its pH balance and becomes either too acidic or too alkaline. The imbalance of pH can cause either scale formation or corrosion, depending on the number it reaches on the pH scale.

Water that is a pH balance of six or lower is acidic and increases corrosion. Acidic water mixed with oxygen and contaminates like chloride or sulfate will cause corrosion. Corrosion is the deterioration of metal through chemical or electrochemical reaction with its environment.

Water that has a pH balance of 8 or higher is too alkaline, causing scales to form. Alkaline water has high concentrations of calcium and/or magnesium. The calcium or magnesium carbonate becomes deposited on pipes, creating scales. When scales build up, it can trap oxygen, causing corrosion. Without annual inspection, testing, and maintenance, a facility would not learn of the pipe deterioration until a fire event happens, leaving the facility without water supply for their fire protection sprinklers.

Scale buildup may cause microbial growth between the scales and pipes. This can cause pipe corrosion called microbial induced corrosion (MIC) in addition to the already present scale problem.

There are three different types of attacks on the metal:

• General Attack: Corrosion is evenly distributed over the metal surface.
• Pitting Attack: Small areas of the metal are corroded, like in the case of MIC.
• Galvanic Attack: Corrosion when two different metals are in contact.

3. Warm Environment
The warm environment is the perfect atmosphere for microbes to thrive. The microbial growth causes differential aeration. Differential aeration, also known as oxygen concentration cells, occurs when oxygen is trapped between scaling and the metal pipe. This entrapment will not allow the oxygen to diffuse naturally and uniformly. Without the ability to diffuse evenly, oxygen develops into a concentration of cells, causing the cell concentration to eat away at the pipe where it is trapped. Every 25-30 degree increase in temperature doubles the corrosion rate.

The contaminated water, pH balance, and warm atmosphere all act in combination to corrode or scale fire protection pipes.

Ensuring Safety in the Event of a Fire

Because of the nature of a cooling tower, it is difficult to find a convenient time to take it offline for inspection, testing, or maintenance. However, annual inspections could lead to a longer lifespan for cooling tower fire protection. The environment of a cooling tower is the ideal formula for pipe decay. It cannot be stopped, but it can be delayed.

To delay pipe decay, annual inspection and testing needs to be completed by a qualified fire protection solution provider. If corrosion or scale build up is found early, it could be rectified when it is only a small problem and delay the need for a completely new system. If corrosion or scale formation is found and maintenance is needed, the piping system can be replaced with stainless steel, which decays at a much slower rate than standard steel.

Do not delay in replacing a fire protection system when it has corroded beyond the point of repair. Cooling Tower fire protection systems, in general, need to be replaced every 7-10 years due to corrosion. Without annual inspection, the only way for a facility to learn that the fire protection pipe system is corroded or has significant scale formation is if there is a fire and the fire protection solution fails.

When a fire protection sprinkler system replacement is needed, choose a fire protection solution provider that can meet the accelerated timeline that cooling towers require. Many aspects of the installation can be done beforehand or offsite to minimize the outage: design, survey, material drop off, safety training, and custom pipe fabrication. For more information on cooling tower hazards, FM Global has compiled an in-depth data sheet available here or click here for FEMA's cooling tower fire hazard training.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to Locate the Best Steel Sheet Suppliers for Any Project

If you are in the construction business, you have to make certain that you get only the best quality materials if you want to avoid any accidents or structural failures. One of these materials is steel sheet and to find the best suppliers, you have to bear in mind a few things.

Factors to Consider When Selecting the Right Supplier

Before choosing a steel sheet supplier from your list of candidates, you need to consider two main factors: the quality of the products they are offering and the reputation of the company in terms of customer service. There are many companies these days but only a few can deliver both high quality items and high quality service. In terms of reputation, you can check numerous references such as reviews from the company's previous and existing clients. Of course positive reviews are a sign that the company can be trusted to offer top-of-the-line customer service and the best quality products. When you say, "best quality products," this means that the company has excellent plant management as well as top quality assurance. Steel sheets that have passed quality tests and third-party inspections are the best option if you are looking for this particular material for your project.

More Factors to Consider

The other factors you need to consider are the size, thickness, finish and other features. Every project is unique therefore each project requires specific materials. If you find the right supplier or manufacturer, you can have your steel sheets customised according to your needs. With customised materials, you will be able to do the project with no hassles and it is very likely to be finished on time.

Moreover, your budget is a factor to be considered as well because you do not want to embark on a project that will over-exceed the budget that you allotted for it. That is why it is best to check on the prices of several suppliers and see which one offers the best quality materials at reasonable rates. You may get in contact with a supplier that offers wholesale prices to those who require a large quantity of steel sheet so you can enjoy discounts and other benefits.


Embarking on a certain project requires that you are well-prepared so planning is very important. Your planning should include finding the best suppliers for your materials because your project will be a success only if you have proper planning and if you make the right decisions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Carbon Mild Steel Sheet Information

Carbon steel is unique in terms of qualities making it a sought-after material in different home or business construction projects. If carbon is the main alloying constituent, then it is called carbon steel. However, not all carbon steel products contain the same amount of carbon so there are different types based on the product's carbon content. They are as follows:

• Mild Steel - This carbon steel product, like mild steel sheet, contains about 0.16% to 0.29% carbon. Mild steel is relatively cheap compared to other steel variants and can be used for many different applications. This material is commonly used for construction purposes which require large amounts of steel.

• Medium Steel - This product is strong and has good resistance to wear and tear. Medium steel is commonly used for large metal structures as well as automotive components.

• High Steel - As the name implies, this type has high carbon content and is mainly used for the manufacture of high-strength springs, wires, and others.

• Ultra-high Steel - This type is used for manufacturing hard products like masonry materials and cutting tools (i.e. knives, axles) and for non-industrial purposes because of its high-level of hardness and strength.

Mild Steel Sheets for Welding

As mentioned earlier, a mild steel sheet is one that has a low content of carbon in it and this type is a favourite in construction and also in industrial and commercial fabrication. It is used in about 85% of welding. Aside from the sheets, wire and mild steel pipes are also used for welding. This type of steel is welded by using resistance welding or by using gas. The great thing about this material is that it can be bent, moved, twisted or worked into different shapes as it is welded.

It is used in various types of welding such as:

• Flux-covered arc welding - This type of welding is preferred by many when it comes to welding done in outdoor environment and makes use of a flux-covered wire.

• Gas-metal arc welding - This type of welding makes use of solid electrode wire that is made of mild steel that is in copper colour for rust prevention.

• MIG welding - This type of welding is one of the easiest and is ideal for welding in an indoor environment.