This article was written by Bill Tyree, an employee of Thermaxx Jackets.
The Insulation world is very different today than it was just a few years ago. While most commercial, independent insulation, and mechanical contractors seem to have a full understanding of their industry, it is remarkable how much technology has changed their understanding to further advance the industry. Recently, Thermaxx introduced Duke University to the world of aerogel (Pyrogel® XT in the insulation world.)
The properties are such that a thinner insulated jacket may be manufactured with the same insulating qualities as a much thicker needled fiberglass. Some steam systems are located in hard to get to or damp, wet locations. The hydrophobic properties of this material makes it well-suited for these locations.
Another advantage of Pyrogel® XT is its use on a pipe with a large diameter, which could present a problem in jacket thicknesses when using a needled fiberglass jacket. A thick jacket could present location issues. For example, a mounting bracket that holds a pipe is located closely to another item. Another example being a clearance between a large diameter pipe running the length of a tunnel wall.
The aerogel (Pyrogel® XT) jacket may be produced in a thinner composition offering the same thermal properties, thus allowing for a better fit in tight applications. These materials may also be combined to offer a customized application in some engineered applications.
The insulation world has a new friend in aerogel, an old technology that has a new application and is leaving its mark on universities, colleges, hospitals, and the industrial world as a whole. Thermaxx, LLC has been receiving more calls than even asking about the new material and where it can be found. Duke is one university that now has aerogel specified in all of the steam vaults on that campus, as well as steam tunnels. North Carolina State University has done the same, and the list continues to grow.
To read more about the advantages, properties, and characteristics of aerogel insulation visit Thermaxx’s Pyrogel® XT page.