Aerogel Academy

Barbara Mard

Barb joined Aspen Aerogels as a Product Marketing Manager in August 2018. With over 20 years of experience in a variety of marketing disciplines, Barb brings a love of personas, branding, marketing and campaign strategy, messaging, value propositions, copywriting, and story-telling to her role at Aspen--as well as lots of tactical expertise.
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Recent Posts

The Ill Effects of Wet insulation

Posted by Barbara Mard on February 26, 2019

Experts agree that when pipe jacketing becomes damaged, the entire CUI defense mechanism rests on properly specified insulation and well-applied coating. In this situation, you must rely on water-repellent insulation--such as Pyrogel--to keep pipes and assets drier for longer. However, if you've selected an insulation that absorbs water, there are damaging and costly short-term effects of wet insulation to look out for:

  • Heat loss that leads to increased energy consumption and process instability. 
    Wet insulation has a parasitic, heat and energy sucking effect on pipes and assets. So, when insulation is wet, it impacts your process stability and the energy required to run your processes optimally—costing you time and money. Since the thermal conductivity of liquid water is approximately 20 times that of most industrial insulation materials, choosing an insulation that can absorb water just doesn't make sense. The Facilities Management Team at Duke University came to this conclusion. In our article, the Duke team was faced with the option of resolving their wet insulation problem or adding additional steam capacity to compensate for the network losses. Wisely, they chose to address to parasitic losses in their steam network by replacing water-absorbing insulation with Pyrogel.

  • Personnel safety hazards. 
    Hot or extremely cold piping and equipment presents a safety hazard to your personnel.  ASTM C1055 (Standard Guide for Heated System Surface Conditions that Produce Contact Burn Injuries) recommends that pipe surface temperatures remain at or below 140°F. The reason for this is that the average person can touch a 140°F surface for up to five seconds without sustaining irreversible burn damage. 

    Thermal insulation is one of the most effective means of protecting workers from burns resulting from contact, but wetness greatly reduces the effectiveness of your insulation system. Think of an oven mitt. If it is water-logged, its heat protection properties sharply decline—and if you touch a hot oven rack with that wet mitt, you WILL get burned (don’t try this at home, please). When insulation is wet, jacketing surfaces can become extremely hot—increasing the risk of safety incidents or injury to your personnel. So, it is critical that your thermal insulation stay dry to protect your personnel. 

    If you've chosen not to insulate because of CUI concerns, perhaps it's time you try Pyrogel. It's unique properties ensure that your pipes remain drier for longer, minimizing risk to your personnel and assets.
  • Unplanned shutdown for repair and replacement of piping and equipment. 
    When insulation becomes wet, it loses its ability to conserve energy, protect workers, and maintain system performance. Thermal resistance is decimated, and the increased risk of corrosion may endanger infrastructure. Also in our Duke University case study, we shared the story of a colleague who experienced the consequences of wet insulation in an industrial steam network he had worked on in Europe. It required him to work around periodic reduced capacity and increased condensate production; overloaded steam traps; and increased consumption of fuel, water, and treatment chemicals during winter months. A near disastrous corrosion event on a heavy fuel oil tank roof and wall caused major disruption and expensive repairs. The root cause of the tank performance was CUI—the tank had failed as the result of wet insulation.

    Choose hydrophobic, breathable Pyrogel as your insulation to minimize your assets' time in contact with water. Pyrogel helps extend the life of your assets while keeping processes on track, saving you the cost of an unplanned shutdown. 
  • Environmental hazards. 
    Thermal insulation plays a significant role in protecting the environment. It reduces energy consumption, which means that less fossil fuel is burned to produce that energy. This, in turn, decreases the amount of polluting gases—such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide—emitted into the atmosphere. When insulation is wet, the energy required to operate your process increases dramatically, along with the pollutants you’re contributing to the environment.

Whether you're motivated by reducing operating and maintenance expense or minimizing emissions, Pyrogel represents the best practice approach to an effective CUI defense strategy. 

Our team of technical experts can help you solve your wet insulation challenges. Visit our CUI Defense Zone or contact us today.

Visit CUI Defense Zone

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Topics: CUI, Wet Insulation, District Energy, Steam Distribution, Personnel Safety, Process Instability, environmental hazards, asset protection, capacity and recovery

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, CUI, Wet Insulation, 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: Weather, Aerogel Insulation, Wet Insulation, Outages, Power Gen, 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, CUI, Wet Insulation, District Energy, LNG 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: Aerogel Insulation, Offshore Platforms, Simplifed Logistics, LNG Insulation

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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