NEW YORK — Dow Building Solutions, a business unit of the Dow Chemical Co., has announced two new research and development (R&D) test facilities located at the Dow Building Solutions’ North American headquarters in Midland, Mich. The Wall Assembly Research Center and Spray Foam Application Technology Research Facility have been built to test and evaluate insulation, air sealing, and weatherization systems in a controlled lab environment in order to provide customers with real-world data of how the products will work together and perform and function in the field.

The Wall Assembly Research Center is a 1,600-square-foot wall system research lab that has over 30 interchangeable wall sections that enables Dow to test various residential and commercial wall systems. It also allows for the testing of exterior wall system components to see how they stand up to outside elements and perform in a cold climate zone. Systems being tested include rigid and spray insulations, exterior cladding, and various framing techniques, in all cardinal directions. The Wall Assembly Research Center is wired with a state-of-the-art monitoring system that allows researchers to collect, analyze, and process the performance of each of these interchangeable wall systems over extended periods of time.

Dow collaborated with Building Science Corp. to design and construct this facility in a way that the data collected can help further develop Dow building envelope products and systems and provide answers to the most relevant industry questions.

“This new research tool will provide Dow with unique capabilities to develop and validate leading edge building products, grounded in real world performance,” said John Straube, Ph.D., P.Eng., principal of Building Science Corp.

The second research test facility is a 2,000-square-foot spray booth and lab that enables researchers to evaluate the application of new spray foam chemistries and methods. The Spray Foam Application Technology Research Facility was created to test liquid-applied construction solutions and materials, such as spray polyurethane foams and weatherproofing systems, to help better understand how spray products work in both small and large-scale applications while using a variety of application equipment. Beyond testing and gathering data on chemistries and application methodologies, the research facility is also being used to provide education and training on the application and safe handling of these spray foam products.

“Having these research facilities onsite allows us to test how various building systems interact and perform so we can provide critical real world data to our customers and arm them with the information they need to optimize building envelope performance while minimizing costs,” said Gary Parsons, fellow, Dow Building Solutions. “In the past, this data has not been readily available to builders, contractors, and architects even though it plays a crucial role in their business. Having this data will help builders balance energy efficiency, cost savings, indoor comfort, and exterior durability in a way that is affordable for them and beneficial to the homeowner.”

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Publication date: 11/07/2011