Insulation systems should not only be able to minimize the heat exchange with the ambient, but also withstand the operational conditions during its service life.

Pipelines operating in hot service are often bound to Flow Assurance problems requiring both, passive insulation and active heating. An optimization study for the integration of a full coating system and a heat tracing system was conducted through the execution of a full scale test. The test consisted in subjecting the samples to heat-up and maintain stages, as well as cool down cycles which involved the recording of temperatures and power input.

Pipelines operating in cryogenic conditions require passive insulation systems able prevent thermal bridges at any of their components, and to withstand extreme contractions / expansions whenever a thermal cycle occur. A pipeline section, coated with polyurethane foam (PUF) insulation, was installed in dedicated area and a fit-for purpose testing facility was designed and erected for such purpose. The pipeline section was subjected to several thermal cycles, from cryogenic to ambient temperature, to verify its fitness for such service. Pipelines for cold or hot service require monitoring systems, which have to be integrated with insulation systems. Such devices have been used in the experiments mentioned above.

This paper will discuss our recent experience with well-established insulations systems that extended its field of use to LNG (-163°C) and molten Sulphur (+180°C) pipelines, acting as a key enablers for the integration of additional valued added components, like heat tracing and monitoring systems.


A well established insulation technology like PUF, has the capability of getting solidly integrated with other coating technologies, like for example anticorrosion coatings. Such capability is instrumental for the development of cost effective solutions able to extend its field of application and compete against other methods and materials normally used in such field.

One of the goals was to extend the service temperature range suitability. In the hot service, the challenge was to design, select and ensure that all coating system components area able to withstand higher temperatures and are also able to integrate heating systems that are often associated to such services.

In the cold (cryogenic) service, the challenge was to verify the robustness and compactness.

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