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Using Models to Predict the Hygrothermal Performance of Equipment and Piping Insulation...

by Som S Shrestha, Florian Antretter, Andre O Desjarlais, Sai Venkateswaran
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Publication Date
Page Numbers
108 to 123
Conference Name
Symposium on Performance, Properties and Resiliency of Thermal Insulations
Conference Location
Orlando, Florida, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

The development of hygrothermal models began in earnest in the 1990s, with the initial emphasis on the performance of building envelope systems. Numerous large-scale building envelope failures associated with water intrusion drove this development. The physical principles of moisture transfer that apply to building envelopes are equally valid for equipment and piping insulation systems. The main advantage of modeling is that carefully characterized models can predict the long-term hygrothermal performance of any system under different climatic and interior conditions. Thermal insulations are commonly used on outdoor equipment and piping for different applications, such as thermal energy conservation and freeze protection. The insulated equipment usually experiences moisture intrusion due to many factors, such as the duration and frequency of moisture exposure, equipment operating temperature, insulation type, exposure temperature, weather conditions, equipment thermal cycling, and weatherproofing condition. Hygrothermal models have been employed to estimate the moisture pickup of insulated equipment and piping systems, as well as the moisture redistribution and subsequent change in thermal performance as these systems become contaminated with moisture. The hygrothermal model provides insights on the parameters influencing the time of wetness, the lateral redistribution of moisture along the pipe away from the leak, and the ease by which water escapes the insulation/jacketing systems. It has been shown that the moisture leak effect decreases rapidly with distance from the leak and that one- and two-dimensional hygrothermal simulations help to identify solutions to reduce conditions that support corrosion under insulation (CUI).