The term thermal insulation is used to describe a material that creates a barrier between the item to be insulated and the environment.
This barrier prevents the transmission of heat, noise, electricity, and the like. There are several locations that you can notice the use of insulation around, these include:
The insulation used in buildings – improves comfort and saves energy
Insulating electrical objects (such as a cable) – help to limit electricity and magnetism
When the insulation used on glass – saves power
The insulation used on cars or machines – prevents noise
The insulation used on components such as piping and equipment – restricts thermal energy
Insulation is said to be a key feature of an oil refinery or industrial process plant. If you take a close look at the industrial plants, you would find that they are surrounded by insulated pipes, equipment, vessels, tanks, and the like.
These mechanical components receive insulation either for heat conservation, cold conservation, process control, or personnel protection purposes.
What is thermal insulation?
We often see the word thermal used with insulation as “thermal insulation”. The word thermal is related to heat, and the term thermal insulation describes that the insulation material or insulation system under this category will restrict or resist the flow of heat energy into or out of an object or item.
Note that acoustic insulation differs from thermal insulation as the insulation material or system under this category deals with noise instead of heat.
The Use of Thermal Insulation in Refinery
To give you a fair idea, a medium-size oil refinery contains about 73 miles of insulated pipes and 2.5 million square feet of insulated equipment.
Thermal Insulation Materials
Reference to table 1 of BS 5970 may be made for a better understanding of the insulation material used for pipework, ductwork, associated equipment, and other industrial installations.