The role of the insulation material in relation to corrosion under insulation of carbon steel is normally assumed to be three-fold, providing:
a) An annular space or crevice for the retention of water and other corrosive media
b) A material that may wick or absorb water; and
c) A material that may contribute contaminants that increase the corrosion rate
Via the testing of six generically different insulation materials, the study has tried to identify factors in an insulation material that are more influential on corrosion rates of carbon steel.
The study has utilized the laboratory simulation method as outlined in ASTM G189-07 (Standard guide for Laboratory Simulation of Corrosion Under Insulation) that reproduces the condition where water reaches the interphase between insulation and steel, and the system is exposed to cyclic wet-dry/coldhot conditions.
In this test, higher corrosion rates were observed for closed cell and semi-closed cell insulation materials compared to fibrous and other materials that offered no resistance to water vapor diffusion.
Also, insulation materials with a higher content of leachable soluble salts (in particular Chloride) resulted in higher local (pit) corrosion rates.
Key words: CUI, Insulation, aerogel, calcium silicate, cellular glass, fiber glass, stone wool, Polyisocyanurate (PIR), water entrapment, chloride.