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Traditional insulation materials have for many years helped industry overcome the challenge of needing to reduce the loss of thermal energy from hot systems or to prevent the gain of thermal energy by cold systems. These insulation materials have also been used to provide simple personal protection to employees, by preventing burn injuries from contact with metallic surfaces above 60 oC. Poor insulation design and lack of maintenance, leading to failure of the outer moisture barrier or cladding around these insulation materials, allows for moisture ingress, which consequently leads to corrosion under insulation (CUI). Many strategies may be employed to try and mitigate CUI, including the use of special pigmented organic coatings which provides the properties of an insulation layer while also providing an effective corrosion barrier. This paper will discuss some current research, some measurements and comparisons of the performance of pigmented thermal insulation coatings (TIC) through both laboratory based and in-process evaluations. Focus is placed on the associated research into the standard evaluation and testing of such functional TIC coatings, as well as establishing a better understanding of the mechanisms of how they work. The results are compared to validate the applicability of the use of thermal insulation coatings as a viable alternative to traditional insulation materials for providing thermal energy conservation within a specific temperature range and for use to provide personnel protection against hot surfaces.
Specific characteristics of the TIC’s are investigated, such as the thermal conductivity, corrosion barrier properties and the associated economic implications relating to the installation and maintenance of TIC’s. Finally, a discussion is tabled to investigate the health and safety based proposition for applying TIC’s.