Aerogel Academy

Making Plants “Snake-Safe” with Pyrogel®

Posted by Brian Cahill on January 29, 2019

In this edition of the Aspen Academy Blog we are going to focus on snakes. Yes, great big, venomous, dangerous snakes—the kind that can ruin your day.  You’re probably asking yourself, “What could snakes have to do with thermal insulation?”

Quite a lot, it seems. At the 2009 AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety, J.B. Prows delivered a paper1 that addressed the jet fire event at the Huntsman Petrochemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas. Corrosion under insulation (CUI) due to persistently wet insulation was identified at the primary cause of a catastrophic fire in the Light Olefins Unit. The cost of reconstruction exceeded $300m and took 14 months to complete.  The author likened the potential defects caused by CUI to rattlesnakes, which prompted the title Killing Rattlesnakes Before They Bite You.

The metaphor is not lost on the team at Aspen Aerogels. Our Pyrogel high temperature insulation is engineered to provide superior CUI defense, and is required to meet or exceed a host of test standards. So it was with a sense of great satisfaction that we added a new criteria to our qualificationPyrogel is snake-safe.

 

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, CUI, Personnel Safety

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts About It: Proactive Engineers Choose Pyrogel®

Posted by Barbara Mard on January 25, 2019

Engineers, by nature, are proactive in their quest to improve the processes, systems, and designs that they work on daily. But, looming deadlines and budget constraints often mean that you make insulation choices without added consideration. Are you choosing insulation because it’s what was already in place and that’s good enough for now?  We’re not knocking that approach; we get it. However, if you’re looking for long term solutions for problems that plague your insulation systems­­—including CUI— we think it’s time to ratchet up your proactive ways and make a different choice. So, let’s talk about that.

Corrosion under insulation can only occur in a wet environment. The implication of wetness on insulation selection is well summarized in section 2.1.2.1 of NACE Standard SP0198 Control of Corrosion Under Thermal Insulation and Fireproofing Materials:

“Because CUI is a product of wet metal exposure duration, the insulation system that holds the least amount of water and dries most quickly should result in the least amount of corrosion damage to equipment.”

In both hot and cold service, non-wicking, non-absorbent insulation is often the preferred material choice. No one wants their insulation to get wetwet insulation is truly one of industry's contradictions. Yet, today, many facilities continue to use outdated, water-absorbing insulation, putting their processes and profitability at risk, and their assets and risk for CUI

It’s a conundrum, for sure. But Pyrogel offers something that proactive engineers are relying on more and more.

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, Wet Insulation, CUI, Productivity

Winter Is Coming. Is Your Plant Prepared For A Deep Freeze?

Posted by Barbara Mard on December 13, 2018

As winter weather approaches, power plant operators and managers must remain vigilant in preventing freezing of their equipment. Frozen piping, valves, actuators, and instrumentation systems can result in ruptures, leaks, and failures that have devastating consequences—such as costly downtime and unplanned outages.

Operators and managers must ensure that all means of freeze protection are in place before it is too late. One way to prevent a freeze-related catastrophe is to select and install the right kind of thermal mechanical insulation.

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Topics: Power Gen, Weather, Aerogel Insulation, Outages, Wet Insulation, Freeze Protection

The World Series Was Won Through Preparation, Not Luck.

Posted by Barbara Mard on October 30, 2018

Many of you know that Aspen is based outside of Boston and, of course, it is a time for celebration as our beloved Boston Red Sox won the World Series just two nights ago. While we’re enjoying this championship and the fanfare that comes with it, what’s truly inspiring to us is how the team’s preparation and planning led to the ultimate win. The Red Sox won because of their game plan. They were prepared to face the toughest of teams, situations, and challenges. That’s what we do every day at Aspen—we help industrial organizations plan and prepare to keep their assets performing optimally with world-class insulation that prevents Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI).  

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, Offshore Platforms, LNG Insulation, District Energy, CUI, Wet Insulation

Four Great Reasons to Join Us at Gastech--Cryogel Z Advantages for LNG

Posted by Barbara Mard on September 13, 2018

Excitement is burbling at Aspen Aerogels as we get ready to participate in Gastech—the leading exhibition and conference for the global gas, LNG, and energy industries. Gastech will take place from September 17-20, 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. We’d love to see you there at stand # O113—while you're there, don't forget to enter to win our daily raffles. We have some special prizes to give away.

Wondering what we have in store? Here are Four Great Reasons to Visit Aspen Aerogels at Gastech 2018. 

Since we know not everyone can attend the event, use this list as a quick cheat sheet on the advantages Cryogel® Z aerogel insulation offers to the LNG and gas processing industries.

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Topics: LNG Insulation, Aerogel Insulation, Offshore Platforms, Simplifed Logistics

Insulating Feed Lines to Stabilize Operations & Increase Run Times

Posted by Richard Schmidt on August 1, 2018

No one will argue that insulating process piping and equipment isn't a smart choice for industry—energy is conserved and personnel are protected. But when that insulation breaks down due to heat, water or mechanical abuse, the disadvantages go beyond just increased energy consumption. A recent experience with a US refinery is a good example of how the right choice of insulation can provide immediate, tangible benefits to operations.

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Topics: Delayed Coker Unit, Furnace Feed Lines

Pyrogel HPS Supports Faster Restart After an Unplanned Outage

Posted by Andrea Giles on February 28, 2018

When an event resulted in damage to the existing removable insulation blankets on a gas turbine, it led to an unplanned outage at a combined cycle generating facility. Exiting the outage and restarting the plant was contingent upon re-making the insulation blankets and applying them to the turbine as quickly as possible. That's why the facility's contractor turned to Pyrogel® HPS. 

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Topics: Project Profile, Removable Pads, Versatility, Productivity, Outages, Power Gen

Weighing Your Options for Insulating Spheres

Posted by Andrea Giles on February 26, 2018

The weight of insulation is becoming increasingly critical for today's congested industrial sites. For some sites, turnaround and maintenance schedules can be negatively impacted by space and weight limitations—just think about the use of cranes where space is restricted as an example. In this post, we focus on the weight of thermal insulation, including when it becomes an important consideration for refinery and chemical processing engineers.

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Topics: Productivity, CUI, Lightweight Insulation

The Advantages of Versatility - Pyrogel and Cryogel Insulation

Posted by Andrea Giles on December 11, 2017

What comes to mind when you think of the word versatility? Multipurpose tools are versatile. All-around athletes are versatile. But your industrial insulation? 

Something that's versatile can be adapted to many uses—and nothing exemplifies that more than a roll of Pyrogel® or Cryogel® flexible aerogel insulation blankets. With their simple roll format, and single product SKU, Pyrogel or Cryogel can be easily adapted to fit a multitude of forms and to meet a wide range of functions.

Versatile insulation, however, means more than just being useful in diverse applications and in nearly any area of your plant. In fact, the biggest advantage of versatile insulation is that it can save you significant time and expense.  Here's how: 

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, Versatility

After the Flood: Safely and Quickly Restarting Insulated Piping and Equipment

Posted by John Williams on September 13, 2017

Rain, winds, and recent flooding have affected our families, friends and colleagues around the world. As recovery efforts get underway, we want to help our customers and contractors restart impacted plants and processes safely and efficiently. If thermal insulation on your facility has been impacted by recent destructive weather events, refer to the following Technical Bulletin for guidance.


When an industrial facility gets flooded, low-lying thermal insulation is often one of the first elements to be affected. High winds, moving water, and falling debris can further damage insulated surfaces. To safely and quickly navigate the restart of insulated piping and equipment, consider the following four steps:

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Topics: Technical Bulletin, Wet Insulation, Flooding

About This Blog
If you ever wanted to know more about aerogels and the important role they play in our world, this is the blog for you. We’ll shed light on these remarkable materials, starting with our breakthrough innovations in silica aerogel blanket insulations. Join us as we venture into a world where aerogels made from a variety of materials play critical roles in energy storage, natural resource preservation, and more. Welcome to our Aerogel Technology Platform. Welcome to Aspen Aerogels.

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