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Steam Pipe Insulation

Dr Alan Stevens (Rolls-Royce)


Mechanical Engineering
INTRD!"TIN
Steam pipes are very important in engineering
application and are widely used. The main
applications include household boilers, industrial
steam generating plants, locomotives, steam
engines, different building works, etc. to name but
a few. Lack of proper insulation results in large
energy losses which in turn cost a lot of money
over time. Without proper insulation, the amount
of energy lost can be 10 times greater than the
energy being delivered through those pipes.
nsulation is defined as those materials or
combinations of materials which retard the flow of
heat energy by performing one or more of the
following functions!
1. "onserve energy by reducing heat loss or
gain
2. "ontrol surface temperatures for personnel
protection and comfort
3. #acilitate temperature control of a process
4. $revent vapor flow and water condensation
on cold surfaces
5. ncrease operating efficiency of
heating%ventilating%cooling, plumbing, steam,
process and power systems found in
commercial and industrial installations
6. $revent or reduce damage to e&uipment from
e'posure to fire or corrosive atmospheres
The temperature range within which the term
(thermal insulation( applies is from )*+.+," -)
100,#. to /10.1," -1000,#.. 2ll applications
below )*+.+," -)100,#. are termed (cryogenic(
and those above /10.1," -1000,#. are termed
(refractory(.
n analogy to electrical resistance, the overall
effect of an insulator can be described in terms of
its 3thermal resistance4. The higher the thermal
resistance the less the heat flow for a given
temperature difference across the insulator, 5ust
as the higher the electrical resistance the less the
current flow for a given potential difference across
a resistor.
PR#$EM STATEMENT
2n engineer wishes to insulate bare steam pipes
in a boiler room to reduce unnecessary heat loss
and to prevent people from burning themselves.
2fter putting a thin layer of insulation material
onto a pipe the engineer is surprised to find the
heat loss actually increases6 This is because
there are two competing effects at work. The
insulating material does, indeed, increase the
thermal resistance to heat flow out of the pipe.
7owever, it also increases the surface area that
dissipates heat to the surrounding environment.
nitially, the increase in heat transfer area
outweighs the increase in thermal resistance. 2s
more insulation is added the heat loss reaches a
ma'imum and then decreases as the thermal
resistance eventually wins out. There is a critical
radius of insulation at which the heat loss is a
ma'imum. "alculate the value of this critical
insulation radius and the radius beyond which the
insulation starts to be effective as an insulator.
MAT%EMATI"A$ MDE$
&igure-'( )D S*etch o+ "opper Pipe ,ith Insulation
2ssume the steam is not superheated so that
some steam will be condensing on the inside of
the pipe. The entire inside of the pipe will be at a
constant temperature corresponding to the
saturation temperature of water,
sat
T
-8sat9
representing 8saturation9. at the steam pressure.
The thermal conductivity of the copper pipe is
many orders of magnitude larger than that of the
insulation material, so we can assume the
temperature drop through the thickness of the
pipe is negligible, and that the temperature at the
outside surface of the pipe -hence, the inside
surface of the insulation. is also
sat
T
.
We9ll assume the pipe is very long relative to its
diameter, so heat flow is essentially one:
dimensional, in the radial direction only. Please
note: one-dimensional heat transfer assumes that
heat flows in a straight line, from the warm side of
a component to the cold side, and perpendicular
to the plane of the component. Then, within the
insulation, #ourier9s law of heat conduction states
that the heat flowing out over a length, L , of the
pipe is given by!
dr
dT
kA Q
r
r
; -1.
where
Q
is the rate of flow of heat <W=, k is the
thermal conductivity of the insulation <W%
-m.deg>.=, T is temperature <>= and
r
is the radial
distance <m=. The area is given by!
L r A
r
?
; -?.
f we define the heat loss per unit length of pipe
by
L
Q
P ; -+.
Then by substituting -?. and -+. into -1. we get!
dr
dT
r k P
r
? ; -@.
The heat transferred from the outside of the
insulation to the surrounding air is given by
Aewton9s law of cooling. This states that!
( )
air t R t R
T T hA Q
+ +
or
( )( )
air t R
T T t R h P +
+
?
; -0.
where
t R
T
+
is the temperature at the outside
surface of the insulation <>= and
air
T
is the
temperature of the air <>=. The parameter, h , is
called the heat transfer coefficient <W%-m
?
.deg>.=.
By e&uating -@. and -0. and performing a little
algebraic manipulation we get!
( )( )
r k
T T t R h
dr
dT
air t R r
1 +

+
; -1.
Separating variables and integrating, we find!
( )( )

+
+
+

+ t R
R
air t R
T
T
r
r
dr
k
T T t R h
dT
t R
sat
$erforming integration on both sides, we get
( )( )

,
_

+ +

+
+
R
t R
k
T T t R h
T T
air t R
t R sat
ln
Csing e&uation -0., we can write

,
_

+

+
R
t R
k
P
T T
t R sat
ln
?
; -*.
Dearranging -0. we can also write!
( ) t R h
P
T T
air t R
+

+
?
; -/.
So, by adding -*. and -/. we get!
( ) t R h
P
R
t R
k
P
T T
air sat
+
+
,
_

+

?
ln
?
Dearranging for P , we get
( )
( )
1
]
1

+
+
,
_

t R h R
t R
k
T T
P
air sat
1
ln
1
?
; -E.
"onsider the e'ample values to be as follows!
sat
T
F 100G" F +*+.10 deg >,
air
T
F ?0G" F ?E+.10 deg >,
R F 1 cm F 0.01 m,
k F 0.1+ W%-m.deg>.,
h F ? W%-m
?
.deg>..
This gives the following function on substitution!
( )
( )
1
]
1

+
+
,
_

t
t
P
01 . 0 ?
1
01 . 0
01 . 0
ln
1+ . 0
1
10 . ?E+ 10 . +*+ ?
; -10.
Plot a graph of P against radius t R + to find the
values of t at which P is a maimum and the
value at which the insulation actuall! starts to
insulate, in other words the value of t for which P
is less than its value when

t 0 .
&igure--( .raph o+ Po,er per !nit $ength vs/ Ra0ius
The graph clearly shows that P is a ma'imum
with about 0 mm of insulation -for a total radius of
H10 mm., and that about 11 mm of insulation is
needed -for a total radius of H*1 mm. before P is
less than that for the bare pipe, i.e. for the
insulation to actually insulate6
1%ERE T &IND MRE
1. "asic #ngineering $athematics, Iohn Bird,
?00*, published by Jlsevier Ltd.
2. #ngineering $athematics, #ifth Jdition, Iohn
Bird, ?00*, published by Jlsevier Ltd.
3. Ketails about nsulation Types and Laterial!
http!%%micainsulation.org%standards%materials.h
tm
Dr/ Alan Stevens 2 Specialist in Mathematical Mo0elling an0 Simulation
(Retire03 Rolls-Royce)
Spent +0 years as an industrial mathematician in the Submarines division of
Dolls:Doyce, dealing primarily with heat transfer and fluid:flow behaviour of the
nuclear reactors used to power the Doyal Aavy9s submarines.
IN&RMATIN &R TEA"%ERS
The teachers should have some knowledge of
#ourier9s Law of 7eat "onduction
ntegration using the Lethod of Separation of Mariables
7ow to plot the graphs of simple functions using J'celN or 2utograph or Lathcad
TPI"S "4ERED &RM 5MAT%EMATI"S &R EN.INEERIN.6
Topic 1! Lathematical Lodels in Jngineering
Topic @! #unctions
Topic 1! Kifferentiation and ntegration
$EARNIN. !T"MES
LO 01! Cnderstand the idea of mathematical modelling
LO 0@! Cnderstand the mathematical structure of a range of functions and be familiar with their graphs
LO 01! >now how to use differentiation and integration in the conte't of engineering analysis and
problem solving
LO 0E! "onstruct rigorous mathematical arguments and proofs in engineering conte't
LO 10! "omprehend translations of common realistic engineering conte'ts into mathematics
ASSESSMENT "RITERIA
2" 1.1! State assumptions made in establishing a specific mathematical model
2" 1.?! Kescribe and use the modelling cycle
2" @.1! dentify and describe functions and their graphs
2" @.?! 2nalyse functions represented by polynomial e&uations
2" 1.1! "alculate the rate of change of a function
2" 1.+! #ind definite and indefinite integrals of functions
2" 1.@! Cse integration to find areas and volumes
2" E.1! Cse precise statements, logical deduction and inference
2" E.?! Lanipulate mathematical e'pressions
2" E.+! "onstruct e'tended arguments to handle substantial problems
2" 10.1! Dead critically and comprehend longer mathematical arguments or e'amples of applications.
$IN7S T T%ER !NITS & T%E AD4AN"ED DIP$MA IN EN.INEERIN.
Cnit:1! nvestigating Jngineering Business and the Jnvironment
Cnit:+! Selection and 2pplication of Jngineering Laterials
Cnit:@! nstrumentation and "ontrol Jngineering
Cnit:0! Laintaining Jngineering $lant, J&uipment and Systems
Cnit:1! nvestigating Lodern Lanufacturing Techni&ues used in Jngineering
Cnit:*! nnovative Kesign and Jnterprise
Cnit:/! Lathematical Techni&ues and 2pplications for Jngineers
Cnit:E! $rinciples and 2pplication of Jngineering Science