Pipe Insulation

Insulating small diameter pipes (chilled water, refrigeration, cryogenic, process piping, etc.) is a major challenge because the addition of thicker insulation does not significantly reduce heat loss/gain. As one increases insulation thickness, the surface area for heat loss increases which partially defeats the effect of the thicker insulation. This effect is most dramatic in smaller pipes (<6 inch diameter). To solve this problem, NanoPore Insulation has launched the new NanoTherm™ superinsulated pipe liner for use with conventional pipe insulation. The approach is to employ a semi-rigid liner which is either ¼” or ½” thick which is deployed inside conventional pipe insulation. The liner is installed on straight sections of the pipe followed by conventional insulation for physical protection and thermal protection at valves, tees, etc.


  • Decrease heat loss/gain by 60% to 90+% as compared to conventional pipe insulation with the same total insulation thickness
  • Reduce pipe insulation thickness
  • Enable the use of lower cost conventional insulation
  • Improved condensation protection
  • Ability to retrofit improved insulation
  • More uniform fluid temperatures
  • Reduced capital and operating cost for tracing

NanoTherm™ Performance

The challenge with conventional insulation is that it is difficult to reduce the heat loss/gain by simply adding more insulation. This is illustrated in the figure which shows the heat loss/gain in watts per meter of pipe length with a 100 oC temperature difference between the inside fluid and outside ambient air. For 1” diameter pipe, tripling insulation thickness from 1” to 3” yields only a 42% reduction in heat gain/loss. In other words, an insulation volume increase of 600% only yields a 42% performance improvement. This same result is observed whether one is employing low-cost polyethylene foam or high-end polyurethane foam. Of course, employing large insulation thickness is often not practical because of cost (material and installation), and rack space limitations minimize the ability to achieve energy savings in retrofit applications.

The key to solving this pipe insulation dilemma is the use of insulation with higher thermal resistance. Over the last ten years, NanoPore has developed a range of vacuum insulation products and the NanoTherm™ pipe liner is the latest. It can easily be installed under conventional insulation to yield dramatic energy savings without increasing the total insulation thickness. The plot shows heat loss/gain in watts per meter of pipe length with a 100°C temperature difference between the inside fluid and outside ambient air. For a 1” diameter pipe, the use of a ¼” thick NanoTherm™ liner yields a 67% to 82% reduction in heat loss/gain at the same total thickness.

The NanoTherm™ liner is sold in standard lengths and ¼” and ½” thickness and can be ordered flat or pre-formed into cylinders. The liner has a single seam along the length which allows it to be opened to fit over the pipe followed by forming it tightly onto the pipe with several closure options. Current versions are designed for pipes with diameters of 1” to 6” although larger diameters can be produced via special order. The current product is designed for continuous operating temperatures below 60°C although higher operating temperature versions are currently in development.

Primary Business Address
3721 Spirit Drive SE | Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: 505-224-9373 | Fax: 505-224-9376
European Business Address
The Factory, Rectory Lane | Brimfield, Shropshire, UK SY8 4NX
Phone: 0044 (0) 1584 711 333 | Fax: 0044 (0) 1584 711 838
info@nanopore.eu | www.nanopore.eu

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