What is Thermal Insulation ?


Insulation is a general term used to describe materials that are placed between heated or frozen surface of an object and outside temperature; or in another way, are a barrier between sound wave and the atmosphere. There are various meanings of “insulation”, but in short, “insulation” is a resistor.

What is heat ?

Heat is energywhich is produced in a process of transfer of energy from a high temperature area to a lower one. Associated with the transition motion of molecules, heat can be transferred from one place to another by three methods: heat radiation, heat conduction, and heat convection. Heat is the most usage energy among industry, public utility, R&D, education and medical science & occupational Health.

The Importance of thermal insulation

Purpose of utilizing thermal insulation is to reduce heat that occurs between its origin and the atmosphere or other nearby object. Thermal insulation has different characteristic, size, density, shape and price so as to be applicable for eachtask and temperature. The most significance thing is the thermal insulation must be able to resist/confine thermal movement, or reduce maximum percentage of heat from opposite side of surface.

Types and Differences of Thermal Insulation

There are 2 main types of thermal insulation which are 1) Building Insulation Most of thermal insulations for house are made from low density fiberglass e.g. 24K 48K or 60K, by K = kg/m3 (Kilogram /Cubic meter). It is usually placed beneath ceiling/wall of house or building to reflect heat from roof or outer walls which are directly exposed to the sun. The building insulating material helps not only decrease in internal room temperature, but it also diminish electricity bill and maintenance cost at once. This type of insulating material can be easily purchased in reasonable price, simple installation steps and fixable by an expert. 2) Industrial Insulation (Industry) There are 4 types of materials for Industrial Insulation. 2.1) Rockwool Insulation Rockwool insulation is the most popular among industries. It is yellowish-brown in color. It comes in various forms i.e. board, blanket, roll and pipe for wrapping up hot pipe, exhaust pipe, boiling water tank, valve, etc. Rockwool insulation is easily buy; maximum heat resistance is approximately 600-700°C, standard thickness starts from 50 mm, general density for usage is 96-100K and incombustible. It can be customized to be or not to be coated with aluminum foil by the user/customer. However, Rockwool insulation material cannot be used in more than 700°C surface, and may not inappropriate with angled form. 2.2) Ceramic Fiber Insulation The ceramic fiber insulation is used extensively in industrial, as much as the Rockwool. It is mostly white in color and comes in a 60 cm width roll, standard thickness is 12 mm 25 mm and 50 mm and general density for usage is 128K and 160K respectively. It is able to stand the heat from 1200 to 1600°C and incombustible. The ceramic fiber insulation is commonly used in oven, stove or high temperature pipe. The limitation of ceramic fiber insulation is that it will be deformed in continuous high temperature. In this case, if insulation locking system is not correctly installed, the insulation material will be deformed and the ability to resist heat will also be reduced. 2.3) Thermal Mat Insulation High density fiberglass insulating material which made out of short strand fiberglass called E-Glass (electrical-resistant glass fiber). In the event of “Needled Punching Mat” format is applied in process of producing, the density of the fiberglass will start at the minimum of 140-160K and 180-220K maximum. Temperature levels for usage are from 600-1200°C. It comes in many form i.e. roll, blanket, molded and pipe pumped sheet. Thermal Mat Insulation is nonflammable, non-asbestos, and able to be used in continuous heat without deformation (anti vibration). It has very low heat transferring ability which is good for making removable insulation or insulating mat for covering other high vibration industrial machine such as gas tribune. Due to its constancy, endurance and longer useful life than other types, thermal mat insulation is the most expensive material. Hence, distribution channel is less than the Rockwool and The Ceramic Insulation. 2.4) Aero Gel Originally used in NASA and newly introduced in Thailand. It is made from Silica Fiber with 3-10 mmof thickness. It is able to withstand high temperature from 450-600°C. With only up to 10 mm of thickness, the aero gel becomes commonly used in limited area or wall. Thermal conductivity is very low, slightly change in physical and shrink when being in high temperature continuously. However, it has limited distribution channel, especially a super thin with high resistance versionthat must be imported only.

Why Thermal Insulating materials have different price rate?

Since there are various objectives of usage and specific characteristic for example, temperature, density, heat resistance, it has different price rate. For instance, the price of insulating material used in Oil rig is more expensive than insulating material that generally used in house or building.

Is a cheap or inexpensive Thermal Insulation effective to be used?

Price of insulating material is mostly based on performance. An inexpensive material may be temporarily used or may not at all for some cases or conditions, whilst an expensive one might be too good to be used for some cases.

What is Fiberglass?

Fiberglass is made out of extremely fine silicate filaments of glass that are combined in yarn and woven into fabrics to be used for heat or electrical resistant and reinforced materials.

Usage of Fiberglass

When talking about Fiberglass, we normally think of its qualification of heat resistance such as, stuff in exhaust, wrap up a hot pipe, boiling water tank, valve, plastic injection molding machine, resin dryers, turbo, gas/ stream turbine or even pad the inside of the engine room of a ship.
Fireproof Fabric

Differences between Thermal Insulation and Reflective Heat

Both of them have differences in terms of use. Insulation material is used for resisting thermal conductivity or heat radiation from moving through an object. Example, the use of thermal insulation in exhaust or hot pipe and usage of reflective heat blanket for reflecting the heat off such as reflective heat applied beneath the rooftop or furnace.

Importance of Installation Process

Process of installation is very important for long-term usage. It means, if there are any errors in installation process, it will cause a deformation of the insulating material, when encounters with vibration or continuous heat, and finally result in diminished capability of resistance or thermal protection. Another example case is installation errors cause difficulty of dismantlement of the insulating material for maintenance, in some cases we have no choice but leave it because it cannot be reinstalled.

What are the differences between House Insulation & Machinery Insulation?

Both types of insulating material are different by purpose of the usage, producing process and material. Unlike Building Insulation which is made from glass wool or low density fiberglass coated with Aluminium Foil for heat reflective ability (under the roof), machinery insulation is designed especially for high heat resistance. Machinery Insulation is able to resist the heat from 120-1200°C, abrasion and chemical corrosion durability, longer useful life and more expensive than Building Insulation.

There are a lot of Thermal Insulating companies, what are the differences between them?

There are many companies that provide an installation service for their customers, but how can the customers figure out dissimilarities of those companies. From most of the cases, it can be divided into 2 categories. 1.) General installation for both house insulation and industrial insulation. For this category, the company will usually use the materials that are available in the market and are charged per square meter. 2. Specific task installation or machine. This group will work exclusively on insulation materials that other market material cannot be used which the price depends on the difficulty of the task, and primarily solve the heat-caused problem for customers with a guarantee. Moreover, specific tools are needed such as the infrared thermometer, thermal imagers and special equipment to detect leaking gas, etc.

What are the benefits of remove able thermal insulation?

  • The removable insulation is used in equipment or machinery that requires maintenance according to the length of time, and has the following advantages:
  • Convenient installation system. Fast, no special tools needed.
  • Easily remove, recyclable, reduce time and cost of maintenance.
  • Prevent radiating heat. Help decreasing temperature in working area or in machinery zone.
  • Reducing electricity or energy charge, as a result of reduction of the heat loss from surface of object and the atmosphere
  • Best value for investment, because it is reusable for many times. Therefore, the cost per session is low.
  • Due to the fact that it is designed and customized to adapt to particular object, it is beautifully shaped after Installed with the machine.
  • Flexible in cost because the customer can choose their preferable materials, according to available budget.
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