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Various thermal insulation systems taking advantage of different types
of thermal insulation materials on both an organic (such as expanded plastics,
wood, wool, cork, straw, technical hemp) and inorganic (such as foamed
glass, glass, and mineral fibers) basis are being designed and tested, and new
methods for analyzing the properties of both insulation materials and
insulation systems are being devised. The particular products differ in their
shape, flammability, composition, and structure, which in relation to designers
requirements define the possibilities of their application in engineering
The required thickness of insulation for any specific application depends
on the characteristics of insulating material as well as the purpose of the
equipment. If a process is critical, the most important single consideration
may be reliability. If conservation of heat or power is the deciding factor, the
savings per year as compared to the installed cost is the most important
In contrast, when insulation is to be used for a temporary function such as
holding the heat in while a lining is being heat cured, then the lowest
Possible installed cost would be decisive. Thus, because of conflicting
Requirements, there can be no multipurpose insulation. Nor is there a
Perfect insulation for each set of requirements.
A low thermal conductivity is desirable to achieve a maximum resistance
To heat transfer. Therefore, for any given heat loss, a material of low thermal
Conductivity will be thinner than an alternative material of high conductivity.
This is of particular advantage for process pipes because thinner layers
Of insulation reduce the surface area emitting heat and also reduce the outer
Surface that requires protection. The main purpose of insulation is to limit
The transfer of energy between the inside and outside of a system.
A thermal insulator is a poor conductor of heat and has a low thermal
Conductivity. Insulation is used in buildings and in manufacturing processes
To prevent heat loss or heat gain. Although its primary purpose is an economic
One, it also provides more accurate control of process temperatures
And protection of personnel. It prevents condensation on cold surfaces and
The resulting corrosion. Such materials are porous, containing large number
Of dormant air cells.

Thermal insulation may be applied for one or a combination of the

Following purposes:
Saving energy by reducing the rate of heat transfer
Maintenance of process temperature
Prevention of freezing, condensation, vaporization, or formation of
Undesirable compounds such as hydrates
Protection of personnel from injury through contact with equipment
Prevention of condensation on surface of equipment conveying fluids at
Low temperature
Avoidance of increase in equipment temperature from outside fire
To conserve refrigeration
Offers better process control by maintaining process temperature
Prevention of corrosion by keeping the exposed surface of a refrigerated
System above the dew point
Absorption of vibration.

Whether indoors, outdoors but protected, outdoors exposed to weather,

Enclosed in ducts or trenches below ground level, underground and/or

Difficult or unusual site conditions that will influence the selection or

Application of insulating materials, or both

Type of material to be insulated, with details of special or unusual


2)Dimesnions Of Services
Surface dimensions of flat or large curved areas
External diameters of pipes
Lengths of each size of pipe

3)Temperature conditions
Normal working temperature for each portion of the plant to be
Maximum temperature for each hot surface, if higher than the normal

Working temperature
Ambient temperature: where a specified temperature is required on the
Outer surface of the insulation.
Normally, the theoretical heat loss will be based on the manufacturers
Declared value of thermal conductivity and, unless otherwise stated, it
Will refer to conditions of ambient still air at 20_C.
Any requirement to prevent condensation on the warm face of an
Insulated pipe or vessel containing cold media.

4)Preparation Of Surfaces:
Requirements for the preparation of surfaces, including special requirements,
E.g., for the removal of works-applied protective paint or lacquer,
Or for the application at the site of paint or other protective coating to
The surface to be insulated, should be clearly stated.

5)Type Of Insulation Required

6)Type Of Finish Required
The finish required could include, for example, hard-setting composition or
Self-setting cement, weatherproofing compound, or sheet metal.

7)Special Service Requirements

This could include, for example, resistance to compression, resistance to fire,
And resistance to abnormal vibration. If there is any special hazard from
Contact with chemicals or oils in the plant, attention should be drawn to this.

8)Basis on Which the Thickness of Insulation

Is Determined
Specified temperature on outer surface of insulation
Specified heat loss per unit dimension, linear or superficial

9) Information to Be Supplied by the Manufacturers

of Insulation
The manufacturers declared value of thermal conductivity appropriate
To the temperature of use, plus the corresponding bulk density. The
Manufacturers declared value should include any necessary commercial

Factors for Consideration

The main controlling factors that shall be considered at an early design stage
Are outlined in the following. Attention should be paid to details at the
Design stage to ensure the effectiveness of the complete system.
1. Temperature
2. Mechanical stability
3. Resistance to degradation
4. Thermal effectiveness
5. Type and dimensions of the plant to be insulated
6. Compatibility of the components of the system
7. Total weight of the system
8. Potential hazard to health
9. Corrosion hazard
10. Fire hazard
11. Space for insulating system

Design Criteria
1)Economic Thickness
Where the sole object of applying insulation to a portion of plant is to
Achieve the minimum total cost during a specific period, the appropriate
Thickness is known as the economic thickness. To some extent the relevant
Calculations are unsatisfactory as they relate only to money values rather than
To the conservation of energy and they require assumptions that are mainly
Arbitrary. The principle is to find at what thickness further expenditure on insulation
Would not be justified by the additional financial savings on heat to be
Anticipated during the period (the evaluation period).
An increase in the amount of insulation applied will raise the initial
Installed cost, but it will reduce the rate of heat loss through the insulation,
Thus reducing the total cost during the evaluation period.

2)Applications for Which Economic Thicknesses

Are Not Appropriate
1. To maintain fluid inside a plant system within specific temperature limits,
2. To ensure that a fluid in a pipe has specified physical properties at the point of delivery
3. To avoid danger to personnel

4. To limit the temperature of portions of hot plant in order to avoid damage from excessive
5. To prevent condensation of moisture on the external surface of the insulation of cold
plant, and to maintain the internal temperature of a system above a specified minimum in
order to avoid corrosive attack
6. To improve ambient comfort conditions.

3)Thermal Efficiency
The term has had some popular use for a long time for expressing the effectiveness of some
particular piece of insulation in preventing heat loss from some particular surface in given
Design conditions.

Thermal Efficiency=

4) Effect of Air Spaces

It should be noted that an air space is much less effective for thermal insulation
Purpose than a space of similar dimensions filled with one of the
Convectional insulating materials. This fact is of particular significance at
Elevated temperatures.
The provision of air spaces for thermal insulation purposes is not recommended.
But air spaces may be incorporated between insulation and
Finish for economic or drainage requirements.

5) Specified Conditions at the Point of Delivery

When it is necessary that a fluid emerges from a pipeline or duct system
Under specified physical conditions, the selection of insulating material and
The thickness applied require special consideration that shall take into account
The rate of mass flow and certain physical properties of the fluid to be
Conveyed through the system; economic considerations may well become of
Secondary importance.

6) Provision for Differential Thermal Movement

Hot surfaces

Due to the difference in expansion coefficients of metals and insulating

Materials it is necessary to make allowance for the differential movements
Between the hot surface, the insulant, and the finish. As a guide it is
Recommended that such allowances or expansion joints be inserted

Sliding and bellows expansion joints

The insulation shall not interfere with the operation of the expansion
Joints. For this reason, the bellows or joint are usually fitted with a metal
Cage, fastened at one end only, on which the insulation can be secured.

Cold surfaces
Insulating materials for use at subambient temperatures may have
Coefficients of thermal movement that not only vary with different
Materials, but also differ appreciably from the corresponding movements
Of the pipe or item of equipment to which they are fitted. In some cases
The insulating material will be sufficiently compressible to accommodate
This differential movement but, with long straight lengths at extreme
Temperatures or with non-compressible insulation, contraction joints
Will be required.
These may take the form of a 10 mm gap in the insulation that is
Packed with a flexible insulation.

7) Provision for Preventing Settlement and

On vertical surfaces provision shall be made for insulation supports to take
The dead weight of the insulation. These shall project halfway through the
Insulation thickness or in the case of multilayer work to a line halfway
Through the thickness of the outer layer.
These supports may take the form of flat bars, angles, or studs as
Appropriate. Preferably, provision should be made for tying back any
Reinforcement for the finishing cement.

8) Fire Hazards
Not all the thermal insulating materials in common use are nonflammable.
Some of them, often used for refrigeration systems, are entirely of organic
Composition and thus may constitute a fire hazard, or they may emit smoke
And toxic fumes. Designers of thermal insulation systems shall therefore
Consider the process conditions and the plant arrangement before deciding
Whether or not the proposed thermal insulating material might contribute to

The spread of fire, however initiated, and they shall vary their choice of
Material accordingly.

9) Protection Against Surface Condensation

Condensation takes place on piping and equipment held at temperatures
Below the dew point of the ambient air. Although the application of the
Insulation can prevent condensation at the surface, it will not necessarily
Prevent the moisture being drawn through the insulation itself, and
Frequently the dew point will be reached at some distance inside the layer of
Insulation. It is therefore imperative that a vapor barrier be applied on the warm side
On the insulation layer. If an insulating material is applied to a cold surface in
Humid conditions without a vapor barrier, the insulation can become
Saturated, its heat-insulating properties impaired, and also, probably, its
Mechanical strength. If the cold surface is at a temperature lower than the
Freezing point, the moisture will freeze and tend to rupture and break away
The insulation.
The object of the vapor barrier is to prevent ingress of moisture. It may
Be desirable that the thickness of insulation be chosen so that the outside
Surface temperature of the insulation remains above the dew point.


The heat transfer equations that relate the heat flow
Through the insulation to the insulation thickness and to the thermal conductivity
Of insulation materials for flat and cylindrical insulation are presented.
The symbols and units are as follows:
Q = heat flow in w/m
T1 = temperature of hot surface in _c
T2 =temperature of cold surface in _c
L = thickness of insulation in meter
=conductivity in w/mk
Equation for heat transfer for one thickness of flat insulation:


Common Thermal Insulation Materials

1. Fiberglass

Does not absorb water.

Fiberglass is the most common insulation used in modern times. Because of how it is made, by effectively
weaving fine strands of glass into an insulation material, fiberglass is able to minimize heat transfer. The
main downside of fiberglass is the danger of handling it. Since fiberglass is made out of finely woven
silicon, glass powder and tiny shards of glass are formed. These can cause damage to the eyes, lungs,
and even skin if the proper safety equipment isnt worn. Nevertheless, when the proper safety equipment
is used, fiberglass installation can be performed without incident.
Fiberglass is an excellent non-flammable insulation material, with R-values ranging from R-2.9 to R-3.8
per inch. If you are seeking a cheap insulation this is definitely the way to go, though installing it requires
safety precautions. Be sure to use eye protection, masks, and gloves when handling this product.

Mineral Wool.

2. Mineral Wool
Does not melt or support combustion.

Mineral wool actually refers to several different types of insulation. First, it may refer to glass wool which
is fiberglass manufactured from recycled glass. Second, it may refer to rock wool which is a type of
insulation made from basalt. Finally, it may refer to slag wool which is produced from the slag from steel
mills. The majority of mineral wool in the United States is actually slag wool.

Mineral wool can be purchased in batts or as a loose material. Most mineral wool does not have additives
to make it fire resistant, making it poor for use in situation where extreme heat is present. However, it is
not combustable. When used in conjunction with other, more fire resistant forms of insulation, mineral
wool can definitely be an effective way of insulating large areas. Mineral wool has an R-value ranging
from R-2.8 to R-3.5.

Cellulose Insulation Material.

3. Cellulose
Contains the highest amount of recycled content.

Cellulose insulation is perhaps one of the most eco-friendly forms of insulation. Cellulose is made from
recycled cardboard, paper, and other similar materials and comes in loose form. Cellulose has an R-value
between R-3.1 and R-3.7. Some recent studies on cellulose have shown that it might be an excellent
product for use in minimizing fire damage. Because of the compactness of the material, cellulose contains
next to no oxygen within it. Without oxygen within the material, this helps to minimize the amount of
damage that a fire can cause.
So not only is cellulose perhaps one of the most eco-friendly forms of insulation, but it is also one of the
most fire resistant forms of insulation. However, there are certain downsides to this material as well, such
as the allergies that some people may have to newspaper dust. Also, finding individuals skilled in using
this type of insulation is relatively hard compared to, say, fiberglass. Still, cellulose is a cheap and
effective means of insulating.

Polyurethane Insulation.

4. Polyurethane Foam
Makes a great sound insulator.

While not the most abundant of insulations, polyurethane foams are an excellent form of insulation.
Nowadays, polyurethane foams use non-chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas for use as a blowing agent. This
helps to decrease the amount of damage to the ozone layer. They are relatively light, weighing
approximately two pounds per cubic foot (2 lb/ft^3). They have an R-value of approximately R-6.3 per
inch of thickness. There are also low density foams that can be sprayed into areas that have no
insulation. These types of polyurethane insulation tend to have approximately R-3.6 rating per inch of
thickness. Another advantage of this type of insulation is that it is fire resistant.

Polystyrene (Styrofoam).

5. Polystyrene
Difficult to use around imperfections, can become costly.

Polystyrene is a waterproof thermoplastic foam which is an excellent sound and temperature insulation
material. It comes in two types, expanded (EPS) and extruded (XEPS) also known as Styrofoam. The two
types differ in performance ratings and cost. The more costly XEPS has a R-value of R-5.5 while EPS is
R-4. Polystyrene insulation has a uniquely smooth surface which no other type of insulation possesses.
Typically the foam is created or cut into blocks, ideal for wall insulation. The foam is flammable and needs
to be coated in a fireproofing chemical called Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). HBCD has been
brought under fire recently for health and environmental risks associated with its use.
Other Common Insulation Materials
Although the items listed above are the most common insulation materials, they are not the only ones
used. Recently, materials like aerogel (used by NASA for the construction of heat resistant tiles, capable
of withstanding heat up to approximately 2000 degrees Fahrenheit with little or no heat transfer), have
become affordable and available. One in particular is Pyrogel XT. Pyrogel is one of the most efficient
industrial insulations in the world. Its required thicknesses are 50% 80% less than other insulation
materials. Although a little more expensive than some of the other insulation materials, Pyrogel is being
used more and more for specific applications.


Other insulation materials not mentioned are natural fibers such as hemp, sheeps wool, cotton, and
straw. Polyisocyanurate, similar to polyurethane, is a closed cell thermoset plastic with a high R-value
making it a popular choice as an insulator as well. Some health hazardous materials that were used in the
past as insulation and are now outlawed, unavailable, or uncommonly used are vermiculite, perlite, and
urea-formaldehyde. These materials have reputations for containing formaldehyde or asbestos, which
has essentially removed them from the list of commonly used insulation materials. .
There are many forms of insulation available, each with their own set of properties. Only by researching
each kind thoroughly can you discover which will be the right kind for your particular needs. As a quick

Aerogel is more expensive, but definitely the best type of insulation.

Fiberglass is cheap, but requires careful handling.

Mineral wool is effective, but not fire resistant.

Cellulose is fire resistant, eco-friendly, and effective, but hard to apply.

Polyurethane is an all around good insulation product, though not particularly eco-friendly.

Polystyrene is a diverse insulation material, but its safety is debated.

With energy costs continually on the rise and taking its toll on the world population and the
environment, the need for energy conservation has never been greater. It is estimated that
40% of our energy is used controlling the temperature in buildings. Of this, over 30%
escapes from the building primarily through the conventionally insulated walls metal or
wood studs in a process termed Thermal Bridging.
NASA has been developing Aerogel insulation technology for several years, using it on the
space shuttle, space suits, and for many other advanced insulation requirements, including

the last Mars mission. This technology has the potential to revolutionize energy
conservation. As recently reported on the "Science Channel," Aerogel will be the
breakthrough in building energy conserving buildings.

Review of Benefits:
-- Very significant saving in energy costs
-- 100% recyclable
-- Contains no ozone depleting substances
-- Uses >30% recycled content
-- Composite material consisting of over 95% air
-- Hydrophobic, unaffected by moisture, mold or water
-- Easily applied via stick-on-back
-- "Class A" fire rated
-- Economical
-- Virtually no weight means low cost (& low emissions) shipping
-- Adds acoustical isolation
-- Not affected by age as it does not react with moisture of the atmosphere

Multi layer Insulation