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Since the properties of various types of insulation at various temperatures are known, the correct thickness of the chosen material can be easily calculated when the primary reason for applying it is protection, or maintaining close process temperatures, or preventing condensation. The calculation of the optimum thickness based upon economic thickness is not so easy, however, because an unwieldy number of variables must be handled—among them: the cost of heat energy, the cost of insulation, the cost of capital at various periods of amortization, and the conductivities of various insulations at different temperatures. The more insulation, the greater the original insulation cost, yet the lower the operational cost through the expected life of the facility, and the lower the cost of the equipment needed to supply the heat.
Thermal Insulation Manufacturer's Assn., Mt. Kisco, N.Y.