Industrial Insulation Systems: Material Selection Factors
By Gordon H. Hart, Artek Engineering, LLC David W. Yarbrough, R&D Services, Inc. |
Thermal insulation systems can provide several functions on piping and equipment in industrial facilities. Some of these are: reduction in energy loss, process control, personnel protection, emissions reduction, condensation, freeze protection, and noise reduction. In the chemical process industries (CPI), thermal insulation systems are often subjected to severe environments that might include either very high or very low service temperatures, weather exposure, physical abuse, exposure to corrosive chemicals, and, in an accident scenario, fire. To provide the desired functions while being exposed to these environments over a long time period, the insulation materials should be carefully selected and the installation details specified to assure that the design goals are met. In industrial facilities, this can be challenging.
Reasons for insulating
The reasons for insulating pipes and equipment can vary from system to system and from facility to facility. The first inch of thermal insulation usually reduces heat loss by at least 85% and several inches usually reduces it by about 95% compared to what it would be from uninsulated surfaces. This insulation thermal performance, in turn, allows the facility owner to achieve several goals,…