Detecting, Locating, Measuring, and Quantifying Air Leak Flow Rates. Calculating Air Permeability, Non-Invasively.

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The global transition to a net-zero economy hinges on a strong and trusted relationship between business, government and society. We must forge a path to a clean global future, where prosperity is delivered, but not at the expense of human and planetary health. This is why we at Coltraco Ultrasonics develop technologies to solve seemingly impossible challenges, one of these unique technologies is the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520.

This is the first time that one instrument can:

  1. Identify leak sites with a microscopic level of accuracy, and
  2. Measure and quantify them using sophisticated algorithms, and
  3. Generate a value for the air flow rate through each leak site, as well as
  4. Calculate the room or building’s overall air permeability and
  5. Store photographic and quantitative data to generate traceable, exportable reports.

The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 is lightweight, easy to use, rechargeable battery-powered and ergonomic. Our scanners are lightweight, battery powered, ergonomic, and only require a minimum amount of training to achieve so much more, faster, better, and cheaper than their competitors. It possesses the hardware and software necessary to create a temporally and spatially consistent signal combined with a unique algorithm (discovered by Coltraco with the assistance of the National Physical Laboratory) which are required to quantify the leak extent ultrasonically. 

It complements air pressure testing, such as Door Fan Testing or Pulse Testing, which is now mandatory for all new builds, in England and Wales, and in other countries, commercial and residential, it can be used when a building is under construction or being assembled. Components such as windows, doors, and panels can also be checked in the factory, prior to being fitted. It can also be used to periodically and non-invasively assess a building after it has been built, to monitor changes in air tightness over time or to assist with renovation.

The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 is able to locate, measure, photograph, and record data on leak sites as small as those with a diameter of 0.5mm, non-intrusively and without pressurisation, so that immediate low-cost remedial action can be applied, thereby providing a convenient way for developers to meet ESG-related standards such as Passivhaus by reducing thermal wastage. This ensures that airtightness pressure tests are passed first time, every time, or enables the quick identification of leaks in the event of the failure of an airtightness pressure test, providing a speedy and complete record of all leak sites.

It performs outstandingly, being able to identify and quantify leak sites that cannot be found with any alternative method. By comparison, other methods of leak detection, such as the use of smoke pencils, infrared, and coloured gas, are primitive, with none able to accurately measure the extent of each individual leak site, calculate the air flow rate, or provide an overall air permeability value for the room or building in question.

The quantification of leak sites in a depressurised environment has never been achieved before, nor has ultrasound ever successfully been used to quantify leaks, until now.

The economic benefits of airtight buildings include a better-quality building which is far less likely to suffer from water ingress, infestation, and all consequent damages to the building and its contents. Well ventilated and insulated airtight buildings eliminate interstitial condensation which might, over the long-term, damage the structure and fabric of a building.

Access to pure fresh air is a basic human right, and this can only be achieved in an airtight building, where thermal comfort is achieved solely by the post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions, without the need for additional recirculated air. By embarking upon a fabric first approach, which delivers phenomenal thermal performance by maximising airtightness and reducing thermal bridging, typically savings of up to 90% less energy consumption are being achieved. Airtight, well insulated, and well-ventilated dwellings will help to bring more households out of fuel poverty and reduce the incidence of hypoxic environments by improving indoor air quality.

Reducing our consumption, and indeed reliance on fossil fuels, will rapidly lower the CO2 emissions driving the climate crisis. In the United Kingdom, making homes warmer and cheaper to heat through better insulation and airtightness is key. Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges as we move closer to climate neutrality. Energy efficiency advances have already had a huge effect on global emissions, with improvements since 2000 resulting in 8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions a year being avoided. It is estimated that 40% of carbon emissions come from the built environment, and a commitment to net zero is a commitment to airtight buildings.

From an environmental perspective the equipment is light-weight and portable, and any physically fit person with a reasonable amount of strength and agility could easily fit it all into a back-pack and walk, bicycle, or take public transport from one appointment to another.