How can the Portascanner® COVID19 Offer a Unique Capability in Air Leakage Testing?

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The Portascanner® COVID19 is a unique ultrasonic technology from Coltraco Ultrasonics capable of identifying the exact location of any leak site within a structure, measuring the physical size of the leak, calculating the airflow rate through it, and estimating the air permeability of the structure or room as a whole.

By locating and quantifying air leaks, the Portascanner® COVID19 is able to assess potential routes for the spread of airborne infectious particles and other unwanted contaminants. It is also able to determine whether or not the permeability of a surface is low enough for the contained volume to be positively or negatively pressurised with Fan Pressurisation Equipment (FPE). Leak detection and quantification are therefore an essential part of airtightness testing, yet existing technologies are poorly suited to these tasks.

Technologies such as smoke pencils and thermal cameras are highly subjective, with no means of quantifying the extent of leaks nor the airflow through them. Anemometers are able to directly measure airflow, but are flawed in other respects.The key benefit of the Portascanner® COVID19 over an anemometer is that the former does not require a pressure differential i.e. there does not need to be any airflow currently occurring for the Portascanner® COVID19 to pick up the potential for future airflow. That means that the Portascanner® COVID19 air flow measuring device can be used prior to the installation of HVAC and FPE.

It can also be used when ventilation has been installed but is turned off, or if it is not functioning correctly.

As an example, if a room is supposed to be negatively pressurised to 50Pa, but is only pressurised to 1 Pa, an anemometer may fail to identify leaks that would only become significant under greater pressure differentials. Meanwhile the Portascanner® COVID19 air leakage tester will tell the user the airflow under the desired pressure differential (in this case, 50Pa) meaning the true impact of the leak can be known under various pressure conditions without the need to impose those conditions during testing, or if those conditions are falsely believed to have been imposed correctly.

This is a very significant when consideration is given to the preparation of a room or building for an airtightness test, which involves creating a pressure differential. Prior to a traditional air tightness test, involving a Door Fan Blower or Pulse Test, the exhaust and induction ventilation ducts have to be sealed, along with any other apertures such as chimney flues. This is time-consuming and wasteful in terms of materials used, which then have to be removed and discarded.

In a new build programme, or in a retrofit, it is disruptive and costly, to have to pause the ongoing programme of works, so that required intermediate air leakage tests can be conducted. The Portascanner® COVID19 means the quality of the build programme can be checked continuously, as and when necessary with minimal obstruction, will make the entire build programme flow more efficiently, as the cost savings will be significant.

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Coltraco Ultrasonics
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Joseph Swan Road
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