FOAMGLAS® Insulation Used for Fire Protection of Pentane Tank

Gabriel Technologie, located in Ghlin-Baudour, Belgium, is part of the KNAUF group and was the first manufacturer of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in Belgium. With a team of 60 employees the company produces 60,000t of EPS annually, which makes them the largest polystyrene manufacturer in the Belgian market.

Gabriel Technologie recently came to Pittsburgh Corning for insulation solutions for its pentane tank vessel.

Insulation requirements
An important requirement was providing a suitable insulation that also acted as a protection against fire. Pentane is an organic compound which can produce hydrocarbon fires that can rapidly rise to 1,200°C (2,192°F).

The second requirement that had to be taken into consideration was, in case of a hydrocarbon fire, limiting the temperature rise of the stored pentane, so that it stayed below the specified pressure relief temperature.

The FOAMGLAS® insulation system specified limits the temperature increase after a two hour hydrocarbon fire to only 10°C (50°F) at 20% fill level, and to not more than 3°C in the case of 80% fill level.

FOAMGLAS Insulation Solutions
FOAMGLAS insulation was the only insulation material that met the desired requirements. Due to the fact that FOAMGLAS consists of 100% pure glass, it is incombustible and therefore highly suitable as a passive-fire-protection insulation. FOAMGLAS insulation is used globally as an insulating material in applications above and below-ambient temperature because it possesses sustained thermal insulating properties that reduce energy loss to a minimum.

To insulate the surface of the vessel, preformed 80mm thick FOAMGLAS ONE TSG segments were used. The TSG vessel segments were dry applied with staggered joints and kept in place by stainless-steel straps. The joints were sealed with Pittseal® 444N which is a single-component, non-hardening butyl based sealer. A single-layer FOAMGLAS cellular glass system was sufficient to give the required fire protection for this application.

For the vessel heads, prefabricated vessel head segments were used. The vessel head segments were adhered to the vessel head with PC®88 adhesive, which is a two-part adhesive for bonding FOAMGLAS insulation to porous or non-porous substrates. The tank legs were insulated with 80mm thick FOAMGLAS T4+ slabs and adhered and sealed with PC 88 adhesive and Pittseal 444N.

The whole tank including the legs was covered with 0.8 mm thick stainless-steel cladding.

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