Choosing The Right High-Temperature Insulation For The Job

There are numerous criteria that should be established when specifying the right insulation for a given industrial project. Why? Because the ideal material or product for one application may be unsuitable for another if the goals of the two projects are not consistent. According to the National Insulation Association, these goals would include:

  • Saving energy
  • Reducing emissions
  • Lowering life-cycle cost
  • Ensuring sustainability
  • Protecting workers
  • Improving process control and productivity

Beginning a design for the right insulation solution requires weighing the goals and related criteria as filters for selecting the right product. Both application- and material-dependent criteria should be considered as you ask yourself these key questions

  • Is the durability of the design critical?
  • Is life-cycle cost a priority when considering the total package: installation, operation and maintenance?
  • Are there large external temperature variations at the site?
  • Is personnel safety important — requiring that surface temperatures be kept below 140°F  (60°C)?
  • What are the maximum and minimum operating temperatures?
  • Is potential corrosion under the insulation (CUI) a concern?
  • Are process temperatures going to vary or occasional shutdowns likely?
  • Will pipe vibration be present due to proximity to turbines, motors or high-pressure steam?
  • Is there a potential for damage from foot traffic and ladders during maintenance?
  • Are fire protection and non-combustibility important ?

In addition to these questions, two more criteria are especially critical:

  • Product claims should be supported by ASTM standards and testing.
  • The insulation product should be supported with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?

The last two questions are particularly important . If the answer is “no,” then your selection process may be that much easier. Establishing your selection criteria is essential in determining the right product fit – the proper  solution for your needs. There’s no point in specifying insulation designed for a low-temperature process for a high-temperature setting. What works for an oil refinery in Texas won’t necessarily work for an oil storage facility in Alaska. We will be expanding on each of these criteria in future blog posts. For now, it’s enough to establish the big picture – your decision architecture — with design details to follow. To review some product data sheets for the leading industrial insulation products, click here.

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