Archive: Dec 2011

Are Insulation Blankets Safe for Outdoor Applications?

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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.

Appropriate Insulation for Marine Applications

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Marine applications differ from land-based applications in three main areas: Firstly, a ship engine is typically used for prime power, so it is running all the time and generating a lot of continuous heat, unlike a back-up power generator. Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, are the additional safety concerns that arise from being a sea-borne vessel—out on the water is not a place for heat-related issues. Thirdly, the engine room is often in tight quarters, increasing the likelihood that someone brushes up against a hot exhaust component.
For these reasons, Firwin typically recommends a thicker level of insulation than would suffice in standard non-marine power applications – usually 2-inch thick insulation blankets, as long as space allows. Extra care is also taken in designing the blankets to ensure that small gaps between components are covered. Firwin Hard Coat is also an excellent alternative to removable insulation blankets for marine applications, especially in cases where space constraints do not allow for thicker insulation. 
For more information about insulation for marine applications, please contact us today.