There is a large variety of insulation methods and materials, some of which are still being used after 100 years or more, asbestos being the notable exception.
In recent years, a range of new products have become available. One of these, known generically as 'aerogel' is especially noteworthy. Thickness required is considerably less than traditional materials and it is extremely light. This means that in many cases, it can be applied over existing insulation along pipe racks for example.
Factors to consider when choosing insulation type are:
• temperature of the surface to be insulated;
• need to remove and replace during maintenance activities;
• installation cost;
• space limitations to applied thickness;
Mineral wool is a better insulator than pre-formed calcium silicate, but is more time consuming to install and awkward to remove and replace for maintenance.
Padded blankets covered with waterproof cloth are recommended for items such as hot isolation valve bodies (often left bare). These can be fixed in place using stainless steel wire and so are easily removed and replaced during maintenance.
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