Smooth surfaces for the Superdome


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After Hurricane Katrina struck, the New Orleans Superdome sustained $193 million in damage. The hurricane tore off a part of the Superdome's roof, leaving the large ductwork, known as the “gladiator ring,” largely exposed. The sheet metal ductwork inside of the “gladiator ring” is a 10 x 10-ft area with a catwalk inside for accessibility. The duct, along with the fibrous insulation inside, was infiltrated with mold and none of the material was salvageable. The contaminated materials had to be removed and replaced with a new duct liner and sheet metal.

The Associated Design Group Inc . (ADG) was the lead mechanical and electrical engineering firm chosen to repair the damage and select a new duct liner for the replacement duct. ADG partnered with Mechanical Insulation of Baton Rouge to complete the project. The firms selected AP Armaflex closed-cell duct liner from Armacell for the project. By using the closed-cell insulation, extra precautions were unnecessary during reconstruction of the Superdome. Even after exposure to the weather, the liner's closed-cell construction made it resistant to moisture penetration, which usually is common in the Louisiana climate.

The smooth surface of the closed-cell material was completely cleaned and sanitized before start-up. Unlike fibrous insulation, the material did not need to be jacketed before cleaning. The liner's insulation was made with Microban antimicrobial product protection. Microban, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -registered foam additive, does not wear off during duct cleaning because it is built in during the manufacturing process.

To facilitate the installation of the duct liner, Armacell showed Mechanical Insulation how to thoroughly clean the sheet metal duct and spray the contact adhesive. During the three-month project, more than 80,000 sq ft of duct liner had to be shaped to fit the oddly shaped Superdome. The engineering team was happy with the final result. “We wanted a material that would not wick moisture. I like the fact that the insulation has a smooth, cleanable surface, that it does not release any fibers into the airstream,” said Larry Blanchette, PE, president, Associated Design Group.

Information provided by Armacell

To view another story about a innovative solution after the damaging effects of Hurricane Katrina,

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At A Glance

The damage caused by Hurricane Katrina resulted in an extensive overhaul of the New Orleans Superdome's roof and ductwork. The Associated Design Group Inc. (ADG), Lafayette, La., was selected to repair the damage and select a new duct liner. Partnering with Mechanical Insulation of Baton Rouge, ADG selected AP Armaflex closed-cell duct liner from Armacell for the project.

The liner's closed-cell construction made the Superdome resistant to moisture penetration. The insulation of the liner was made with Microban antimicrobial product protection.

Completed in three months, the project included the installation of more than 80,000 sq ft of duct liner to fit the oddly shaped Superdome.

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