The Next Evolution of Calcium Silicate: What Does It Mean for You?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 17:00 PM
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Jack Bittner

Industrial insulation contractors have their work cut out for them. As with many facets of industrial facility construction, operation, and maintenance, orchestrating the variables at play is critical to ensuring that projects are completed safely, on time, and to specification. For contractors, this effort can be complicated by coordinating timing with unforeseen project delays, space constraints, difficulty finding skilled installers, material storage limitations, and, most notably, inclement weather. These challenges largely stem from two things: 1) insulation installation typically happens at the very end of projects, and 2) much of the installation work has to be done outdoors, putting contractors at the mercy of the weather. 

The weather during an install can be such a problem, in fact, that many contractors have preemptive plans in place for protecting the insulation during inclement weather, regardless of weather forecasts. This typically includes jacketing the insulation as quickly as possible, tarping the insulation immediately after installation until the metal jacketing can be applied, or urgently tarping the insulation in the event of a thunderstorm. Bear in mind that the insulation not only needs to be covered during the installation process, but throughout a number of different phases of construction:

  • Transporting the material to the jobsite
  • Storing the material on the jobsite
  • Transporting the material to the actual work area – pipe rack, scaffold, etc.
  • Staged for installation

In any one of these phases, wind can kick up at any time and blow the plastic covering off the material, exposing it to the elements and, potentially, causing irreparable damage to the insulation.

These jobsite-related challenges are what prompted us, at JM, to develop Thermo-1200™, a water resistant calcium silicate. This insulation is the result of an innovative product development project that lasted more than a year, and the outcome is a calcium silicate that has been designed to absorb less than 15% (maximum specification) water by weight in a 20-minute, typical rainstorm*. The average weight gain is only 7% in a typical rainstorm scenario. By comparison, traditional calcium silicate can absorb close to 100% of its weight in water in a 20-minute moderate rainstorm.

When an insulation absorbs that much water, it poses an entirely new set of problems for contractors. Per ASTM C533, the maximum amount of water an calcium silicate insulation can absorb before it should be replaced is 20% water by weight. Anything in excess of 20% requires installers to remove and replace the insulation. 

This is where Thermo-1200 can offer significant benefits to contractors. While we still recommend that all insulation be jacketed and weather-protected as soon as reasonably possible, Thermo-1200 is designed to allow a little more flexibility during the installation than has historically been available with calcium silicate insulations. This flexibility can save contractors time and money on the job site, as it gives them time to decide the best course of action in the event of a rain storm and gives the installers more flexibility to decide when to install the jacketing. In some limited circumstances, the insulation may not even need to be tarped, allowing installers to continue working as normal.  

Beyond water resistance, Thermo-1200 still offers the same performance features as Thermo-12® Gold (JM IIG’s current calcium silicate insulation) at every turn. This means that it also still has the XOX Corrosion Inhibitor®.  Thus, even if water penetrates the water resistant surface, the corrosion inhibitors will still activate to help protect the steel surface from corrosion. By coupling the water resistance of Thermo-1200 with the corrosion inhibiting performance of XOX Corrosion Inhibitor, our calcium silicate not only sheds water, but it is also one of the least corrosive industrial insulations available (per ASTM C1617 test methods). In the constant battle against corrosion under insulation (CUI) in industrial facilities, this can be an incredibly valuable asset.

While we can’t help our contractors find skilled labor, and we certainly can’t control the weather, innovative materials like Thermo-1200 can help improve efficiency on the jobsite, and mitigate the impact of inclement weather during the installation process.

Click here to schedule a Lunch and Learn to learn more about JM IIG’s Thermo-1200 water resistant calcium silicate. To learn more about Thermo-1200, please click here, or download our FAQs and Data Sheet.

 

*Typical rainstorm: 1 ¼” of rain per hour