In this paper, Dr. David Morton and Dr. Francois Pierrel discuss the thermal properties that influence the performance of insulation coatings used for personnel protection in the oil, gas, and chemical industries. They examine the historical evaluation of “safe touch,” which is a time-dependent function, and present a simulation model that demonstrates the importance of various thermal properties for achieving the desired result. The authors also compare the actual measurement of surface temperature to the theoretical model and explain the key thermal properties that make a good coating for personnel protection.
The paper highlights the importance of thermal diffusivity, which measures the speed at which heat travels and reaches equilibrium, making it the perfect property to relate to safe touch. The authors have developed a model that can accurately predict the safe touch temperature for the insulation coating at the desired operating temperature, using measured thermal and physical data of the insulation coating. They note that ASTM C1057 is often used incorrectly to specify surfaces as “safe to touch” and emphasize the need for a better understanding of the standard in practice.
This groundbreaking paper was presented at the AMPP (Association for Materials Protection and Performance) Conference held in Denver in 2023, showcasing the importance of thermal properties in insulation coatings for personnel protection in high-risk industries.