Author Archives: firwincorp
|COPIAPO, Chile where 33 miners were trapped in a collapsed mine|
|MineWrap™ Removable Insulation Blankets|
There are two possible problems when considering using removable insulation blankets for outdoor applications:
• The potential for water to get underneath the blanket and stay, which could in turn lead to pipe corrosion under certain circumstances.
• The possibility of poor insulation performance when exposed to the elements.
Because insulation blankets, by nature, are not sealed, they are not impervious to water. Brett Herman, Firwin’s VP of sales and customer services, says the first question you should ask yourself when considering using insulation for an outdoor application is, “Can I afford any water getting under the blanket?” If the answer is no, then insulation blankets are not likely candidates for you application. However, if the problem isn’t a question of water getting under the blanket, but rather a fear of the water lingering, removable insulation remains a viable solution.
In many applications, high temperatures from typical engine exhaust cylinders (provided they are non-cyclical) will burn off excess water that remains under an insulation blanket—thus eliminating the risk of corrosion. In terms of ability to perform in outdoor conditions, insulation blankets’ standard outer layer (silicone impregnated fiberglass) can withstand temperatures as low was -67° F before cracking—and some even feature a UV resistant coating. When it comes to responding to water, some kinds of insulation are more water-resistant than others.
To accommodate outdoor applications, Firwin incorporates design modifications into blankets, such as extra flaps to reduce the amount of water that gets beneath a blanket. If corrosion is an issue, Firwin may also recommend consulting with an outside corrosion engineer.
For more information, continue reading about insulation blankets for outdoor applications here.
An insulation blanket is composed of three main layers: An inner face, the insulation media itself, and the outer fabric. The inner face, known as the hot face, comes in direct contact with the hot component. Typically a stainless steel mesh, it holds the insulation in place. The outer fabric, known as the cold face, covers the insulation.
Outer fabric can be fluid-resistant or non-fluid resistant. Silicone or Teflon™ lamination endows the fabric with fluid-resistant properties, greater abrasion resistance, and the ability to withstand greater amounts of mechanical stress. Additionally, these types of fabrics are well suited to surviving the elements.
However, once temperatures reach above 500° F, the adhesives and coatings begin to break down, causing the material to lose integrity and become brittle. Some fabrics can continue to perform up to 600° F, at which point laminated fabrics maintain integrity while losing lamination. For extremely high-temperature applications, non-fluid resistant, woven, non-coated fabrics fare well. For applications that require fluid-resistance as well as high-temperature resistance, other materials must be considered.
Curious about what kind of outer fabric is right for your particular application? Read more to find out what other options are available.
Last week, we discussed fastening techniques for insulation blankets. But what about proper installation? Combined with the right fastener, proper insulation installation is crucial in maximizing heat reduction. An improperly installed blanket can result in uncovered parts, heat leakage, or damage to the blanket—all of which can cost you time and money.
To help our customers get the most from our insulation, we’ve put together a basic guide to Firwin insulation blanket installation. This step-by-step guide, complete with pictures and diagrams, shows you exactly what do to and how to do it.
Firwin’s removable insulation blankets are available for many different applications, including manifolds, turbos, elbows, flanges, and flex joints, among others. Please contact Firwin directly if you require further instruction on installation for these or other components.
Getting the most out of your pipeline applications requires attention to heat—and sources of heat loss. The more heat you lose the higher the cost, so identifying key areas for insulation can go a long way towards increasing efficiency. Valves, flanges, expansion joints, and other irregular surfaces are common culprits of heat leakage, and maintenance often damages existing insulation. To circumvent these issues, many industrial professionals turn to removable insulation to maximize heat retention and increase pipe performance.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulating any surface that reaches temperatures greater than 120° F, in order to protect personnel. The use of reusable insulation pads is pivotal in maintaining a safe environment: because the pads can be periodically removed for inspection and replaced as needed, they are an effective way to resolve current heat loss issues and prevent problems down the road.
Depending on valve size and operating temperatures, insulating valve covers can achieve impressive energy savings: the difference in heat loss between the un-insulated valve and the insulated valve operating at the same temperature. To get an idea of how much you can save, take a look at this helpful table from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Interested in removable valve insulation? Contact Firwin today to learn more about our hands-on service.
How hot does the outer surface of an insulation blanket get? When thinking about insulation temperatures, it’s important to remember that fabrics do not conduct heat; metals do. As a result, the relative temperature of a fabric surface can be higher, and still be safe to touch. However, it wasn’t until 1998 that a formal differentiation was made between metal and other surface types. For both, 140° F (60° C) had been the accepted standard temperature.
The UL220 Specification for Stationary Engine Generator Assemblies, issued in September of 1998, was the first standard to quantify acceptable temperatures. Based on this specification, fabric surfaces, such as insulation blankets, can reach temperatures up to 203° F (95° C), and still be safe enough for casual contact.
For more information about safe contact temperatures for insulation materials and more, please see our Firwin Insulation Insights FAQ.