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The problem of corrosion under insulation is studied by analysis of seven contributing factors: (1) equipment design; (2) service temperatures; (3) insulation selection; (4) paints and coatings; (5) weather barriers; (6) climate; and (7) maintenance practices. The purposes of our study are to identify optimum locations for inspection of insulated equipment and to identify improvements in new equipment design and insulation, as well as maintenance of existing systems. Emphasis is placed on equipment design features, operating temperature, and weather barrier deficiencies to guide inspection. Weather barrier maintenance is critical for prevention of corrosion on existing equipment. New insulated equipment designs should provide special details so that the system can be better sealed against water entry and allow clearance for the specified insulation thickness. On new equipment or when reinsulating existing equipment, a high quality coating system is recommended, since touch up opportunity does not exist.
corrosion, insulation, paints, coatings, maintenance, inspection, temperature, climate, petrochemical equipment, mechanical design, weather barriers
Staff engineer, Exxon Chemical Americas, Baton Rouge, LA