JENAL ~ Onboard Systems

The key onboard system to reduce, cold, heat and noise is insulation by 3M Thinsulate.


JENAL is a home and located on water and as we know, water is cold and a great way to cool oneself when hot. Therefore not an ideal medium for living amongst and making a comfortable home, particularly when its cold outside.

We are talking about "Thermal Comfort" and it is as important in JENAL as it is in our houses. "Thermal Comfort" is composed of several things:

  • A sustained comfortable temperature. We don't want big temperature swings in different areas of the barge.

  • No draughts. We don't want to be in the lounge, dining or bedroom with a lot of uncomfortable air across our bodies.

  • Less noise. You don't want the heating system or air con running constantly or at frequent intervals, especially when entertaining, dining, or sleeping.

To help us get a full understanding let us examine; what is temperature? Temperature is the movement of air. Whenever there is a temperature difference between outside and inside, there will be heat flow. Heat flows easily from warm areas to cold areas if there is nothing present to stop it or slow it down.

What is thermal insulation? Thermal insulation is a material that provides resistance to heat flow, via small air pockets inside the insulating material.

What is R-value? R-value is a term that refers to the heat transmission properties of an insulation material. It is most commonly used in the housing industry. Barges, yachts and houseboats are constructed somewhat similar to houses, so R-value should be a term that most people will relate to instead of the mumbo-jumbo terms the technical people use. (CLO, thermal resistivity, etc). The higher the R-value of an insulating material, the better it is at preventing heat flow.

Remember, heat flow is AC/DC; it goes either way. If it is cold outside, the heat from your warm house or boat will try to move outside. If it is hot outside and you are running your air con, the heat outside will try to move inside.

We quickly learnt that 3M had developed a ‘new-way’ of installing Thinsulate. Where the ‘new-way’ fundamentally differs from previous methods including polystyrene and Rockwool, is the installation; this system is almost exclusive to Thinsulate and, to wide-beam & Dutch barges, due to their design & configuration. 

Application method; one applies adhesive (3M FB49) which is a one way pressure sensitive adhesive to the hull superstructure as per normal, in one go. Using 19mm thick Thinsulate, apply this to ALL the steel surfaces.  When the lining-out panels are made, apply a 2nd layer of 19mm Thinsulate to the inside of the wood linings using the same adhesive.  But not over where you may be drilling attachment holes, only because Thinsulate fibres will clog your drill bit and that’s a ‘P-in-the-B (or A if you're American)’!

We have an air gap between the inner lining and hull surface where air is trapped.  Providing the installation is such that air cannot move from chamber to chamber between the steel ribs, we will gain even more insulation (as in double glazed windows). 

As Thinsulate is also a noise absorber this means that we can use Thinsulate in the cavity walls, around shower/baths, in the galley and the metalised material (silver-faced rather than normal black) can be used in the engine room.  This silver-faced Thinsulate needs their special adhesive tape between the joints to comply with RCD regs. for non-absorbency of fuels etc. Due to Thinsulate' s lightweight it is ideally suited to the roof sections of our Klipper as well. This will reduce heat ingress, heat-loss, rain fall noise, bird noise, and give improved acoustics inside.

This illustration shows the extent to which we have specially designed the installation of the 3M insulation to optimise the product and get the best possible heat/sound insulation available.

Go To: 3M Thinsulate contact details