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Time Capsule cavity wall insulation

Store a lage number of personal time capsules when building something.
  [vote for,

So in the process of doing scientific research, labs round here continuously receive items packaged in expanded polystyrene boxes, in a range of sizes. They're used because they insulate the contents shipped with dry ice, but they are often discarded after arrival.
I've been toying with the idea of using these for insulation directly. I think the main disadvantage is that they'd create a wide wall (with excessive insulation, if they're filled with bubblewrap or other excess packaging materials as I originally envisaged).

However, we could use the room inside each box as a long term, very limited access storage space. The goal then is to find a purpose for which these conditions apply. I suggest time capsules.

I propose that a suitable new-build construction, perhaps a museum, would have walls designed to hold these boxes. (Building standards differ, but I am assuming thick brick/masonary walls with a void for the boxing insulation in the center. This system doesn't have to be applied to every wall, or every floor.) The walls would each get filled over some time - initially decent-quality expanded polystyrene boxes would be collected and stored empty as they became available. This provides the initial insulation component of the design. Subsequently, each section of wall would be repacked in sections with boxes containing time capsules, then sealed off completely with a ceremony for contributors.

A group, family, or individual member of the public would be given dimensions of their box, and maximum weight, and could then collect items to donate to the project. The contents of each box would be documented, photographed and confirmed safe by the curator during packing. Valuable items, explosives, solvents and unmummified organic matter for example are generally not permitted. Initially the contents are dehumidified, then bagged and sealed in a neutral atmosphere. An ID number matching one inside the bag would be applied to the inside and outside of the box, which would then be carefully sealed. The position of each box would be recorded at interral, and all information stored both in electronic form for browsing in the museum, and as a physical manifest also packed inside the wall.

Loris, Jan 09 2017


       // unmummified organic matter ... generally not permitted. //   


       OK, cats have to be mummified. There's precedent for that ...
8th of 7, Jan 09 2017

       //a suitable new-build construction//   

       This would have been a good idea when they were building, say, the Natural History Museum. Nowadays, the average lifespan of a building is much too short to make this worthwhile.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 09 2017

       I don't think that's true. There are about 25m houses in the UK and about 100,000-150,000 are built every year. Assuming all these new houses are replacing decrepit old houses (which they're not) then the average house has to last 200-250 years before replacement. If we are confident that many houses will actually have to be replaced after 10-50 years then this dramatically skews the distribution and you have a lot of houses which we are expecting to last 1,000 years.
hippo, Jan 10 2017

       //a suitable new-build construction, perhaps a museum//   

       I was assuming we were talking about a big public building.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 10 2017

       I thought your house was also a museum - is this not so?
hippo, Jan 10 2017

       //I thought your house was also a museum - is this not so?//   

       Well parts of it are, but most of it relatively recent. For instance, the "new ballroom" (as we call it, to avoid confusion) was only finished in the late 1780's - the paint's barely dry on the frescoes.   

       //embedding guinea pigs into walls//   

       I have a mummified rat, called Willard, found inside a wall. He's probably 100-200 years old, and has very little insulating value.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 10 2017

       Ok, I misread it as "Store a large number of personnel IN time capsules..."   

       So much for my annos for sourcing appropriate personnel.
whatrock, Jan 10 2017

       I like the idea (+) but flammability will be an issue.   

       //...flammability will be an issue.//   

       Yes, I worried about that.
That's why the walls are in seperate, sealed sections in brick or masonry walls, and partly why the contents are packed in a protective atmosphere.
I think that means it would be at least same as, or better than cavity wall insulation. One method of retrofitting insulation is to blow expanded polystyrene beads into the cavity - this has been done pretty widely here. Extruded polystyrene blocks are also used where there is access. These are apparently available up to 160mm thick.
Loris, Jan 11 2017

       As an alternative service, the museum could accept digital images, which would be printed onto archival-quality photopaper, collated into groups and archived as normal.
This would provide a good method by which larger groups could participate with a uniform input from each individual.

       For example, each child in a school year could provide one image - in a variety of ways. Some children may take photos of themselves or their environment, some may draw a digital pictures and some may create physical images or collages which could be scanned; all could then easily be archived together.
Loris, Jan 19 2017

       Any building which uses steel reinforced concrete will last about 100 years, unless that steel has a truly excellent rust preventative coating.   

       Although concrete, while curing, is alkaline and thus protects the steel from water in the concrete, the instant the concrete is fully cured (a few months), this protective effect ends.   

       If any part of the concrete is in contact with the earth, capillary action will move water through it, providing enough moisture for rust to happen.
goldbb, Jan 20 2017

       //Any building which uses steel reinforced concrete will last about 100 years, unless that steel has a truly excellent rust preventative coating.//   

       Um, okay.
My understanding is that reasonably maintained brick or masonary walls will last indefinitely.
Loris, Jan 20 2017


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