These days, there is a wide variety of insulation materials available that can meet the requirements of any application. With new advancements in technology being continually introduced to the market, insulation contractors can match the job with the optimal materials to achieve the goal of the project, whether it’s process control, energy savings, personnel protection, or a combination.
Here are a few of today’s common industrial pipe insulation materials:
Fiberglass Pipe Insulation (and Other Mineral Fiber Insulations)
- Mineral fibers are defined as insulations composed primarily of fibers manufactured from rock, slag, or glass (with or without binders).
- Fiberglass pipe insulation is a one-piece molded insulation with thermosetting resin as a binder.
- Fiberglass insulation can be used on systems from 0 to 1000 degrees F.
- Fiberglass is commonly used in power, process, and industrial applications.
- Rock wool is used to make precisely cut coverings for hot and cold piping systems.
- Temperatures range from -120 to 1200 degrees F.
- Rock wool is frequently used in high temperature industrial process power plants and petrochemical applications, and for steam and process pipe work.
- Fiberglass and rock wool insulation both fall into the same category and are both covered by the same ASTM “mineral fiber” specifications.
Cellular Glass Insulation
- Defined as a lightweight, rigid material made up of millions of sealed glass cells.
- The unique cell structure makes cellular glass insulation water resistant and will not absorb flammable liquids or vapors.
- It is also unaffected by common chemicals and corrosive environments.
- Temperatures range from -450 to 900 degrees F.
- Common applications include low- to high-temperature pipes, equipment and tanks in the petrochemical industry, as well as above ground steam and chilled piping systems.
- Aerogel insulation is considered to be one of the most effective insulation materials on earth.
- It’s made of an amorphous silica-based aerogel cast into a fiber reinforcement.
- Operating temperatures range between -321 and 1200 degrees F.
- Common applications include OEMs and pipes in industrial applications.
- Aerogel insulation is hydrophobic.
- One .8” thick piece of aerogel is equal to 2 ½ inches of fiberglass or 3 inches of calcium silicate.