The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, Alexandria, Va., offers the 3E Plus program as a free download at www.pipeinsulation.org.

In many instances, determining the appropriate insulation thickness for a pipe, duct or chiller is subject to “rule-of-thumb” calculations with little engineering or economic consideration. However, because insulation thickness is a critical design factor in the effective performance of a mechanical system, calculations should be precise and accurate.

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, Alexandria, Va., offers the 3E Plus program - available as a free download at www.pipeinsulation.org - which can be used as a tool to determine the thickness needed for a variety of design criteria.

Many specifiers underestimate the role insulation thickness plays in the performance of the mechanical system and, consequently, give little thought to the type of insulation needed or the thickness required to do the job. The thickness needed to insulate for design criteria such as energy savings or personnel protection will likely be different than the thickness needed to control condensation, for example.

NAIMA suggests that to obtain accurate calculations using their tool, users will need to input basic data via pull-down menus. Necessary information includes the item to be insulated, what the pipe or duct is made of, the primary reason for insulation, the operating temperature inside the pipe or duct, the ambient conditions outside the pipe or duct, and where the insulated system will be located.

Based on the input criteria, the 4.0 version of 3E Plus can provide both metric and inch-pound thickness calculations as well as reports.

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