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Pipe Insulation: Finding the Optimal Thickness

By Alejandro Anaya Durand, Allan Osornio Maldonado, Alexander Álvarez Holly, Itzayana Montesinos Aguilar, Adalberto Fuentes Martínez and María Daniela Ávalos Galván |

Avoid tedious numerical calculation by using this quick, shortcut method Insulated pipes are important in many applications in the chemical process industries (CPI). When it comes to the insulation itself, the two main questions are: which material should be used; and how much of it (thickness)? Three variables are considered in order to find the most economical thickness of an insulated pipe: the inner radius of pipe, the cost of energy and the cost of the insulation material itself. Determining the most economical thickness of insulation for a pipeline is a problem of finding the right balance between using the least amount of insulating material with the least amount of energy loss. When increasing the thickness of the insulating material, the energy loss decreases, but the cost of the insulating material rises. When decreasing the thickness of the insulating material, the material cost decreases, but the energy lost rises — that translates into monetary losses. The equation that solves this problem is complicated. It is a function of many variables, such as inside and outside temperatures, cost of energy, conductivities, nominal sizes of pipelines, the cost of insulating materials and more. In order to find a system’s minimal…
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  • SSR OMAN

    Hi all,

    It is very interesting shortcut method. Well I am having a doubt regarding hr calculation equation (6). Shall 460 have a (-) or (+) ?

    Another query, do you have any reference to obtain data for other insulation materials similar to (Figure 2), (Figure 4), (Figure 5), (Table 1) & (Table 2)..


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