Insulation is rarely installed as a stand-alone item. Instead, insulation material is part of a system that includes the insulation; the securement; a vapor barrier, in the case of low-temperature applications; and an outer layer that might be referred to as the cover, jacket or lagging.
Each component plays an important part in the overall function of the system. The insulation material itself is the primary barrier to the flow of energy, while the securement holds the insulation in place. The function of the vapor barrier is to prevent the passage of moisture into the insulation. The most multi-functional component in the insulation system is the outer covering, referred to here as the jacket. It has a variety of functions, including protecting the insulation from mechanical damage, providing support, preventing moisture penetration and establishing the system emissivity and appearance. This article will examine the high points of insulation jackets.
To a casual observer, the most obvious characteristic of an insulation system is its appearance. Appearance is dominated by the characteristics of the jacket chosen for the system. In the chemical process industry (CPI), where most insulation is located outside, exposed to the elements, metal is the most commonly used material. For a metal to be useful in this situation, it must first have sufficient corrosion resistance to withstand exposure to both the elements and to the chemicals present in a typical chemical processing environment. Aluminum and stainless steel are the most commonly used jacket materials in the CPI because, among many other desirable characteristics, they have sufficient corrosion resistance to meet a basic low-maintenance, high-durability requirement. Both are available in a range of thickness, finishes and corrugations.
If you're interested in learning more about how to design a highly effective insulation and jacketing system that can inhibit CUI, we encourage you to sign up for our live webinar, "Combat CUI: How to Combine Insulation & Jacketing to Inhibit Corrosion." Click here to register.