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Advantages of Aerogel Insulation

Comparison of Aerogel Insulation and other Insulation materials

A comparison of Aerogel Insulation and other insulation materials demonstrates why Aerogel material has been fast gaining a favourable reputation as the material of choice for industrial insulation and is rapidly gaining market share. This article describes briefly the key differences between Aerogel type insulation and conventional insulation.

Below we discuss in a bit more detail the benefits, limitations and properties of Aerogel insulation and other insulation materials to help users select the appropriate insulation materials for their requirements.

Aerogel Properties

  • Aspen Aerogels (Aspen) is a leading manufacturer of aerogel insulation blankets and their hot insulation product is Pyrogel. Typically Aerogel insulation blanket is made of silica aerogel on a woven E-glass blanket and the key properties that sets it apart from the other insulation products are as follows :

Flexibility

  • • Unlike calcium silicate, perlite and microporus materials that are supplied in pre-formed moulds and slabs, aerogel products are produced as flexible blankets and supplied in standard roll sizes. These blankets can be easily cut into various shapes and sizes at site to apply on any equipment. This makes Aerogel insulation easy to procure and reduces complexity in inventory management as well.

Lowest K Value

  • A low K value allows Aerogel insulation systems to have a very thin profile, up to 3 times thinner than other materials such as Rockwool, calcium silicate and perlite.This makes Aerogel especially suitable in space contrained locations. The low installed weight can lead to additional savings when applied to moving equipment such as rotating drums, loading arms etc.
  • Reduce material requirements from 2 to 5 times and reduces packed volume by 5 to 10 times .Thus, providing significant savings in material, logistics and warehousing.

Hydrophobic Yet Breathable

  • Water and moisture can easily penetrate into insulation through gaps and leaks in the installed systems. Wet insulation in contact with metal surfaces usually leads to corrosion under insulation (CUI). Majority of the insulation materials such as microporus materials, rockwool, ceramic fiber and calcium silicate have a tendency to absorb and retain water which makes these systems prone to CUI.
  • However, Aerogel’s hydrophobicity prevents any water to seep through the insulation and accumulate, whereas the breathable nature allows water vapour to pass through the material when the equipment heats up.
  • Reducing Moisture retention can significantly reduce CUI risk in the installed systems.

No Use of Organic Binders

  • • Organic binders are used in rockwool and other fiberous insulation materials. The purpose for such binders is to hold the fibres together in its supplied form. However at temperatures above 200⁰C these binders break down the fibers tend to come loose. This can often be seen, when the external cladding is removed during maintenance etc where the fiberous insulation begins to sag towards the bottom or becomes brittle making them unusable once removed. However, in the case of Aerogel there is no organic binder which keeps it thermally and physically stable even at high temperatures.

Limitations

Aerogel is designed to withstand temperatures up to 650 ⁰C, therefor when insulating equipment with temperatures above 650 ⁰C it is recommended to use other suitable insulation products.

The reference of Aerogel insulation in this document is based on Pyrogel, which is manufactured by Aspen Aerogels USA. For further details please refer to our page on Hot Aerogel Insulation Using Pyrogel XT-E

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