Thermal-fluid pipework is common in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries and is a high-temperature application with the inherent danger of wicking fires. Fibrous insulation materials such as mineral fibre and solid insulation materials including calcium silicate have been shown to wick oils and give the conditions for spontaneous lagging fires. 100% closed-cell FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation is uniquely able to eliminate this risk.

The same closed-cell properties which make FOAMGLAS insulation ideal for thermal-fluid systems also mean that it can be used to prevent water ingress and so prevent corrosion under insulation, CUI. Thermal fluid systems are not immune from CUI and cyclic temperatures have been demonstrated to increase the rate of corrosion when water enters permeable insulation.

One of the UK’s major gas reception terminals which handles nearly 20% of the UK’s gas was recently faced with replacing the insulation on its thermal-fluid pipework. These lines are essential to the ongoing operation of the plant and shutting them down was not an option.

The site selected FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation to be applied to 4.5km of live hot-oil lines which meant working with pipework at 230°C. A layer of FOAMGLAS insulation, factory coated with PC700K reinforced coating, was applied to the trace-heated hot pipes and then a second layer of FOAMGLAS with Terostat PCFR factory-applied polymer coating was applied to finish the job.


PC700K is a two-component inorganic mortar based on specially formulated glass powder and fillers with a modified-silica dispersion. This is factory applied to the FOAMGLAS with a reinforcing glass scrim cloth. The result is a strong coating which allows the single-layer working temperature range of FOAMGLAS to be extended. FOAMGLAS PC700K has been used on applications from -196°C to +350°C and beyond and gives greater integrity for extreme applications including cyclic conditions.

Hot oil applications

FOAMGLAS is 100% closed-cell glass foam. It cannot wick oils and so cannot be the cause of insulation wicking fires in any application where hot oils are used. For this reason oil and gas operators, pharmaceutical companies and even food companies such as McCains (French fries) use FOAMGLAS to protect against insulation fires in their thermal fluid processes.


Terostat PCFR is a factory-applied polymer vapour retarder and weather finish. Pre-application of Terostat PCFR to FOAMGLAS means that the entire insulation system is prefabricated in the factory with site work minimised and full weather protection achieved as soon as the FOAMGLAS is on the pipe.

FOAMGLAS innovation

FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation systems are constantly being developed to simplify installation and to improve both system performance and system longevity. Factory preassembly and pre-coating of complex forms ensures that the installed quality is maximised and installation speed minimised meaning that FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation can meet and exceed the oil and gas industry’s expectations.