Conference Year



Chilled pipes, Pipe insulation, Thermal conductivity, Below ambient temperature, Moisture ingress


When pipes are used for chilled water, glycol brines, refrigerants, and other chilled fluids, energy must be spent to compensate for heat gains through the wall of the pipes. Higher fluid temperature at the point of use decreases the efficiency of the end-use heat exchangers and increases the parasitic energy consumption. Mechanical pipe insulation systems are often used to limit the heat gains and save energy in commercial buildings. Pipe insulation systems play an important role for the health of the occupied space. When a chilled pipe is uninsulated or inadequately insulated, condensation might occur and water will drip onto other building surfaces possibly causing mold growth. The critical issue with cold pipes is that the temperature difference between the pipe and its surrounding ambient air drives water vapor inside the insulation system and condensation commonly occurs when the water vapor comes in contact the chilled pipe surface. This paper experimentally studies this issue for pipe insulation systems operating at below ambient temperature. The moisture content and the associated thermal conductivity of several pipe insulation systems were measured under various wet condensing conditions with moisture ingress. Accelerated type tests in laboratory highlighted the propensity of moisture accumulation in the insulation systems with cylindrical configuration and with split longitudinal joints. The moisture accumulation rate was measured and the apparent thermal conductivity increased significantly in a 60 days period when water vapor entered a pipe insulation system

3183_presentation.pdf (2376 kB)
Thermal Performance and Moisture Accumulation of Mechanical Pipe Insulation Systems Operating at Below Ambient Temperature in Wet Conditions with Moisture Ingress