Aerogel Academy

In a League of His Own: Cristiano Gatti of TeknoWool on Solving Gas Turbine Insulation Challenges

Posted by Anthony Cosenze on August 15, 2019

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – tried and tested advice, BUT what if it is truly broken and compromising safety or efficiency?  Pyrogel insulation owes much of its early success to problem solving, responding to a frustrated call for a different outcome.  The story goes like this: solve the problem, the customer identifies additional areas for application, Pyrogel delivers, pains become gains, and Pyrogel displaces the incumbent insulation.

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, Removable Pads, Power Gen, asset protection

The Influence Of Insulation Materials On CUI

Posted by John Williams on March 20, 2019

As facilities engineers and operators know, a Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) mitigation plan is critical to combating the problems that arise from wet insulation and CUI, such as process instability, reduced outputs, loss of containment, and personnel safety incidents. 

But, it's the designer of industrial insulation systems that creates a system that stands the test of time in CUI defense. That being said, the designer has three main weapons in the fight against CUI. The first and primary defense against CUI is a high quality, immersion-grade coating. The second is a properly designed and installed weather barrier jacketing and, if operating below the atmospheric dew point, vapor barrier. The third and, arguably, least understood element is the choice of insulation material. Historically, hot insulation products have been divided into categories of wetting and non-wetting, or “hydrophobic” materials. The distinction is important because, as pointed out in NACE Standard RP0198-98:

“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.”

A more recent European monograph states flatly:

“Insulation that minimizes water ingress and does not retain water can effectively act as a barrier to CUI.”

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Topics: Weather, Aerogel Insulation, CUI, Wet Insulation, Lightweight Insulation, Process Instability, asset protection

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, 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

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

Aerogels – From a Lab Curiosity to an Industrial Reality

Posted by Brian Cahill on July 26, 2017

Note: listen to the audio blog below

During his post-doctoral fellowship at Brookhaven National Laboratory, George Gould, Vice President of Research & Development at Aspen Aerogels, was first introduced to aerogels—nanoporous solids that are extremely important not only for thermal insulation, but also for the future of energy and energy savings.

Since then, George and the team at Aspen have been engineering products for performance, safety, and sustainability—effectively changing the way people think about insulation. As George told us, he truly believes that through advancements in chemistry and engineering, our products can make the world a better place.

It's this "changing the world kind of passion" that makes having a conversation with George so captivating. It's also why we decided to record our most recent sit-down with George so we could share his—and the company's—point of view regarding how aerogel technology innovations are making a difference today. 

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, R&D, Aerogel Technology Platform

The Top Aerogel Insulation Installation Tips Revealed

Posted by Andrea Giles on May 31, 2017

Fresh off a trip to The Land Down Under, we spent a few minutes with Shane Hebert, senior applications engineer at Aspen Aerogels. Shane was in Australia to conduct installation training for an LNG liquefaction project, something that's a mainstay of his job description. Shane has traveled to over 25 countries, visiting end-users, EPC's, and contractors alike to offer training and support, including the best techniques to properly install our flexible aerogel insulation products.

Shane is an expert, no doubt about it. That's why we asked him to reveal his top tips for anyone new to our material—and for seasoned aerogel veterans alike.  

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Topics: Aerogel Insulation, Productivity

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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