Determining the Right Insulation Thickness for My Application

Insulation blankets are made in a range of thicknesses. While for a majority of applications 1" insulation is sufficient, blankets frequently are made to 1/2" thick, and can increase to as much as 4".

What variables need to be taken into consideration so as to establish what thickness is right for a particular application?

What Thickness to Use

It really comes down to what is the customer's concern. 1" thick insulation is standard, and more than sufficient for most applications. If a customer has a particular need, be it to keep in as much heat as possible, to minimize the outer touch temperature, or the heat in a room lower than what a standard 1" blanket would accomplish, then we would look into thicker insulation.

Brett Herman, Vice-President of Engineering and Customer Service, Firwin

An example of where Firwin will frequently recommend 2" thick insulation is SCR applications, where sustaining high exhaust heat is vital to the SCR's performance. For insulation to be thinner than 1", the reason is often because of lack of clearance to allow for 1", or where the pipes are simply quite small.

There are several variables that impact blanket thickness - among them air flow velocity, amount of heat produced, ambient temperature, insulation material and emissivity.

We have a rule of thumb for certain applications. For instance, for power generation, in a prime power application, where the engine is running more or less constantly, we will typically recommend 2" thick blankets; while a back power application, which runs periodically, would typically only require 1" thick insulation. But again, since there are a number of variables which can come into play, every case needs to be evaluated.

Brett Herman, Vice-President of Engineering and Customer Service, Firwin

What about using thicknesses measuring 3" or 4"? "As you go to thicker insulation, the returns, as far as heat retention or lower surface temperature, diminish", notes Brett. "Also, insulation blankets thicker than 2" can get expensive, not only because there is so much more material being used, but because of the added complexity of constructing blankets at such thicknesses".

The chart below shows the performance of insulation blankets at various thicknesses.

typical touch temperatures 1"- 4" comparison

Conclusion

In conclusion, most applications are ideally suited to 1" thick insulation. In case a customer has a specific need where they feel that 1" might not be sufficient, Firwin can be contacted for an evaluation, as there are indeed cases where alternative thickness is more suitable.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Firwin Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Firwin Corporation.

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