Making Decisions with Insulation

Many people overlook the importance of insulation in the chemical industry. Some estimates have predicted that insulation in U.S. industry alone saves approximately 200 million barrels of oil every year.

While placing insulation onto a pipe is fairly easy, resolving issues such as what type of insulation to use and how much is not so easy. Insulation is available in nearly any material imaginable. The most important characteristics of any insulation material include a low thermal conductivity, low tendency toward absorbing water, and of course the material should be inexpensive. In the chemical industry,

the most common insulators are various types of calcium silicate or fiberglass. Calcium silicate is generally more appropriate for temperatures above 225 Â°C (437 Â°F), while fiberglass is generally used at temperatures below 225 Â°C.

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Figure 1: Thermal Conductivity ofCalcium Silicate Insulation  

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