Dilations are a basic aspect in the production of radiant panels.
A generic panel is composed by pipes and metal sheets joined to each other. In standard use conditions, pipes, when heating fluid (hot water, superheated water, steam, etc.) passes through them, reach a higher and different temperature from that of the plate to whom they transmit the heat. Each time the temperature of the fluid inside the pipe increases, the pipe rapidly reaches a temperature close to that one, while plate heats later. This situation may last for some minutes. Even when the system is working, there is a difference between the temperatures of pipe and plate. In other words, dilation times of pipe and plate are different.
This happens continuously during the life span of a radiant panel and may cause tensions and permanent deformations to the plate wrapping pipes. In steam systems, particular operations are necessary to bind plates and pipes together, due to the high temperatures and pressures, and this happens also for hot water systems. Radiant panels, as a natural feature, allow night and weekend setback, namely the shutdown of boilers during night and days off. Heating times of pipe and plate are different and the groove housing the pipe undergoes a deformation, Almost all systems are equipped with automatic regulation and the fluid temperature in panels changes continuously. Dilations may cause deformations in the plate wrapping pipes, reducing the contact surface with pipes themselves and consequently the thermal output of the panel.
In order to reduce this thermal shock, experience has led ECOPAN to realize modules with 2 m long metal sheets, so that 4m modules are composed by 2 plates and 6m ones by 3 plates. Where the 2m plates are set side by side, a dilation joint is created. A welding point is present in the middle of each 2m sheet, therefore dilations on both sides are less than 1 mm. This grants that no deformation of the panel comes out during time.
As a confirmation of this, ECOPAN supplies standard panels also for high-pressure steam systems (only painting changes, because this must resist to high temperatures).
ECOPAN systems present perfect panels even after twenty years of operation, with plates adhering to pipes and without any deformation, therefore with thermal output unaltered in time.
The choice of dividing a 6 m module in three parts has turned out to be successful and it qualifies ECOPAN panels in comparison to competitors.