LBNL Report Number
Most air duct system components are assembled in the field and are mechanically fastened by sheet metal screws (for sheet metal-to-sheet metal) or by drawbands (for flex duct-to-sheet metal). Air sealing is separate from this mechanical fastening and is usually achieved using tape or mastic products after mechanical fastening. Field observations have shown that mechanical fastening rarely meets code or manufacturers requirements and that sealing procedures are similarly inconsistent. To address these problems, Proctor Engineering Group (PEG) is developing a system of joining ducts (called PEGIT) that combines the mechanical fastening and sealing into a single self-contained procedure. The PEGIT system uses a shaped flexible seal between specially designed sheet metal duct fittings to both seal and fasten duct sections together. Figure 1 shows the inner duct fitting complete with rubber seal. This seal provides the air seal for the completed fitting and is shaped to allow the inner and outer fittings to slide together, and then to lock the fittings in place. The illustration in Figure 2 shows the approximate cross section of the rubber seal that shows how the seal has a lip that is angled backwards. This angled lip allows the joint to be pushed together by folding flat but then its long axis makes it stiff in the pulling apart direction. This study was undertaken to assist PEG in some of the design aspects of this system and to test the performance of the PEGIT system.
This study was carried out in three phases. The initial phase evaluated the performance of a preliminary seal design for the PEGIT system. After thirst first phase, the seal was redesigned and this new seal was evaluated in the second phase of testing. The third phase performed more detailed testing of the second seal design to optimize the production tolerances of the sheet metal fittings. This report summarizes our findings from the first two phases and provides details about the third phase of testing.