Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Insulation can be used for several purposes in residential, commercial, or industrial locations. To better understand the purpose of insulation, you first need to understand how industry standards define insulation.
The next paragraph in the article defines the insulation in accordance with the definition provided by British Standard, also known as BS, and the International Organization for Standardization, also known as ISO.
How the Industry Standards Define the Insulation
BS and ISO are the two most popular standard publishing bodies in the world, and when you carefully read and understand their defined definitions of insulation, you will come to know that the main purpose of insulation is to restrict the transfer of heat or sound.
A material or system that has the property of resisting the transfer of heat or sound (BS 3533).
Process of reducing heat transfer through a system, or description of a product, component, or system that performs this function (ISO 9229).
What are the fundamental requirements of the insulation
The two fundamental requirements of thermal insulation material are:
Trapping air or inert gas
Thermal insulation is a poor conductor of heat and has low thermal conductivity. Insulation includes anything that conducts heat slowly. Insulation not only slows down the rate of heat flow, but also slows down the sound, and prevents electricity from passing through it.
Thermal insulation materials keep hot things hot, and cold things cool. Sectors, such as industrial, commercial, residential, and more, use insulation for the several purposes described below.
Major Purposes why the use of Insulation is a MUST
The oil and gas refinery or industrial process plant uses insulation for 6 major reasons outlined below, however, the main purpose of insulation is to limit the transfer of heat energy between the internal and external aspects of a system.
Process control, since insulation can provide more accurate control of process temperature
Saving energy by restricting or resisting the heat transfer.
Inhibiting freezing, where the insulation prevents the freezing of unheated surfaces.
Reducing noise to prevent noise pollution
Protecting personnel from injury through contact with hot or cold surfaces.
Preventing condensation on surfaces conveying fluids at low temperatures
How to Empower knowledge about insulation and its Purpose or Use
There are various books, practices, and standards available to empower thermal insulation knowledge. One of the books that you can read out to gain more understanding and knowledge about thermal insulation is Insulation Inspector Book - IOGS/CII.
The IOGS/CII book covers all the necessary information you need to know about the thermal insulation, these include:
Purpose of insulation
Properties and Characteristics
Good storage practice
Inspection and quality control
Applicable standards and manuals, etc.
Apart from gaining knowledge from the books and other resources available, you can also study the thermal insulation online by taking one of the following courses offered by The Institute for Oil & Gas Sector (IOGS).
Insulation, more specifically thermal insulation, is known to save energy, we lose thermal energy when we don't use the insulation or when the insulation is improperly used or installed. There are various insulation materials that are used to store thermal energy and/or meet specific thermal needs.
Being an insulation professional, you must first understand insulation and its purpose so that you can select the appropriate insulation material and/or design an insulation system to address a specific heat loss/gain challenge.