Thermal insulation protects products, people, and equipment from heat produced by nearby equipment while also facilitating greater efficiency and reduced energy loss. There is a wide range of heat insulation materials available for high-temperature applications, so it’s important to consider your specific operating environment and application requirements to ensure you make the best selection.
What is Thermal Insulation?
Thermal insulation refers to methods used to prevent heat from transferring from one object to another, such as the hot and cold faces of processing equipment used in industrial facilities. Heat transfer refers to the transfer of thermal energy between items of differing temperatures. Thermal insulation prevents heat from dissipating from the heat source and reduces heat transfer between surfaces in thermal contact or within the range of radiative influence.
Heat flow is inevitable when two materials with different temperatures come into contact with each other. Heat insulation works by creating an insulated area where thermal conduction is decreased or thermal radiation is reflected rather than absorbed by the cooler object. At Technicon Acoustics, we rely on specially engineered processes and materials and deliver quality thermal insulation solutions to meet the needs of nearly any application.
Technicon’s Thermal Insulation Materials
Different insulation materials provide different features and benefits. When choosing the right insulation material for your application, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your particular needs. To ensure you make the best choice, consider factors such as flammability, R-value, environmental impact, price, and sound insulation.
At Technicon Acoustics, we specialize in creating versatile and effective thermal insulation solutions, including:
Our new TECH SHIELD™TS-040 is constructed with a lightweight and flexible inorganic core that offers natural flame retardancy and thermal insulation. This heat shielding solution provides a noticeable drop in “body side” or “cold side” temperatures, allowing for enhanced comfort in operator environments and inside cabins.
Tech Shield Sleeve™
These braided sleeves are constructed from a proprietary blend of cure-in-place structural cords and highly texturized fiber. The texturized fiber insulates exhausts to either lower the surface temperature of the exhaust to protect nearby components from damage or help keep the heat contained for diesel particulate filtration. After a couple of minutes of being exposed to the heat from the exhaust pipes, the cure-in-place structural cords will cure to ensure the sleeves won’t fall off or unravel.
Polyurethane foams offer a great heat shielding solution. Today’s polyurethane foams use non-chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases as the blowing agent to decrease the harmful effects on the ozone layer, providing a more environmentally friendly alternative to earlier versions. They also feature an R-value of 3.6 per inch of thickness and are lightweight, coming in at approximately two pounds per cubic foot of material..
Applications for Thermal Insulation
Many industries use thermal insulation, such as aerospace, heavy equipment, power generation, public transportation, specialty vehicles, industrial machinery, and many others. Some of the most frequent applications for thermal insulation include:
- Hotspot prevention. Delicate components require protection from focused high-temperature areas in motors and equipment. Without proper insulation, these hotspots can damage electronics, computer equipment, and other parts inside of enclosures and cause burns and safety issues outside of the compartment.
- Fuel tank protection. Sufficient heat protection of fuel tanks is important as hot fuel not only leads to safety issues, but is also less efficient than fuel that is kept cool. Additionally, thermal insulation is increasingly important in the prevention of fuel tank melting as plastic tanks become more common. Besides controlling temperatures, many thermal insulation solutions can be combined with acoustic solutions to mitigate noise from vibration as well as offer heat protection.
- Surface temperature reduction. High-temperature hot process equipment needs insulation to prevent burns. According to ASTM C1055, it only takes five seconds for a burn injury to occur from touching a hot surface. Thermal insulation provides a non-conductive barrier between the heat source and the touchable surfaces of the equipment.
- Exhaust pipe protection. Exhaust pipes also require sufficient protection from heat, both internally and externally. The insulation protects surrounding components from damage while maintaining an appropriate internal temperature within the exhaust system.
Considerations for Selecting Thermal Insulation
The ideal insulation for one application may not be suitable for another. Understanding the capabilities of the various thermal insulation materials will inform the material selection process. When selecting a thermal insulation material, consider the following factors.
Maximum Temperature Range
While all thermal insulation is resistant to heat to some degree, each has it’s suitable ranges and capabilities. Remember to take temperature extremes or surges into consideration when determining the required temperature range of your insulation.
Protection From the Elements
Environmental conditions are an essential qualifying factor when determining an ideal insulation material. If your application is subject to chemicals, humidity, UV radiation, or abrasives like dirt or sand, ensure that your choice of materials will withstand these conditions without degrading. Some of the additives used for weather protection may increase the insulation’s stiffness, so make sure to select a weather protection solution that won’t make installation more difficult.
Safety and Regulatory Requirements
The manufacturer’s safety certifications should always be considered when choosing a thermal insulation material. Compare safety features like fire retardancy, UL, and other quality and safety standards and certifications.
Match your thermal insulation material to your environment and application. Tight spaces dictate a thinner and more flexible material than those in open settings.
Touch temperature ensures safety for workers and other nearby components. Touch temperature is the maximum temperature that a human worker can touch. This shouldn’t be confused with the maximum operating temperature of the insulation.
Thermal Insulation Solutions From Technicon Acoustics
Technicon Acoustics offers the highest-quality thermal insulation solutions available, including:
- Tech Shield™. The flexible and lightweight core of our Tech Shield offers thermal protection and natural flame retardance. The TS-040 keeps operators more comfortable by lowering the temperature inside cabins or operation stations.
- Tech Shield Sleeve™. Our proprietary texturized fiber material forms a braided insulating sleeve that can maintain heat for filtering diesel particulates and protect nearby components from damage in exhaust systems. This material cures in place, resulting in a secure fit that resists unraveling and displacement.
About Technicon Acoustics
Technicon Acoustics provides industry-leading sound and thermal insulation solutions from our state-of-the-art facility. Our expert team can work with you to recommend solutions with the right acoustic and thermal insulating capabilities using advanced processes, technologies, and systems. For more information about our thermal insulation materials and capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.