Aerogel Academy

Playing Hide and Seek with CUI

Posted by John Williams on February 7, 2019

CUI can be difficult to locate, but we know that in order for CUI to be present, there must be the presence of water in a system. Many times you don’t know that CUI is an issue until something goes wrong—such as loss of containment, processes becoming unstable, or your personnel getting injured. After years of aiding customers in defending against CUI with Pyrogel, we offer the following tips for places to check for CUI in your facility.

  1. Piping near or above open bodies of water, such as jetty lines.
  2. Areas exposed to mist over-spray from cooling water towers, steam vents, and deluge systems.
  3. Steam-traced systems, especially those insulated with water-absorbent, and/or rigid insulation materials.
  4. Equipment in cyclic (i.e., operating both above and below the atmospheric dewpoint) or intermittent service.
  5. Areas where proper application of surface coating is either not feasible, not guaranteed, or where coatings have degraded.
  6. Areas subject to heavy foot traffic.
  7. Tank roofs, especially those with sub-girt systems and fibrous insulation.
  8. Pipe running through sub-surface road crossings.
  9. Areas where moisture can pond, such as vertical pipe supports, valve bonnets, and insulation- and/or vacuum support rings.
  10. Piping expansion loops, where the elbow jacketing tends to open up and fish-mouth.
  11. At the bottom elbow of any vertical pipe run.
  12. On horizontal equipment, the areas directly beneath any top-side penetration (nozzles, ladder clips, davits, etc.).
  13. Sub-surface vaults where buried pipe systems are joined and valved.
  14. Any pipe running within a trench or impoundment area.
  15. Low points where the horizontal pipe is insulated with ill-fitting, rigid insulation.
  16. Piping systems that have a tendency to move or vibrate, causing damage to insulation jacketing.
  17. Top heads of insulated tanks.

How about you? Have you noticed an area more prone to CUI that others? Tell us about in the comments section below.

Need help preventing wet insulation, CUI, and process instability? Visit our CUI Defense Zone.

Visit CUI Defense Zone

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Topics: Wet Insulation, CUI

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

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

Resiliency, Steam Distribution Networks, and Pyrogel

Posted by Andrea Giles on March 29, 2017

It seems fitting that we exhibited at NACE Corrosion 2017 in New Orleans, a city that's faced so many challenges due to water—one of the key ingredients to the corrosion process.  While corrosion and the prevention of it is a major topic we also recognize the value of resiliency and using Pyrogel aerogel blanket insulation to "keep it dry." 

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Topics: Weather, Wet Insulation, District Energy, Steam Distribution

How Does Weather Affect Your Turnaround Schedule?

Posted by Andrea Giles on January 31, 2017

Turnarounds and other maintenance events, both big and small, take lots of planning and preparation. It's an orchestrated event filled with charts, schedules, people, and milestones. So what happens when Mother Nature decides to stir things up with inclement weather?

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Topics: Turnarounds, Weather, Wet 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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