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Variation of insulation thickness and exergetic cost saving with outdoor temperature in pipe insulation

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This article deals with variation of insulation thickness with outdoor temperature in pipe insulation applications. Also, the exergetic cost savings, annual fuel consumptions, and air pollution resulting from different insulation thicknesses and outdoor temperatures are evaluated according to the exergetic life cycle cost analysis. In this study, it was used the coal as a fuel, the pipes with diameter of 50 and 100 mm, and the insulation materials such as rockwool, foamboard, and extruded polystyrene. As a comprehensive case study, the city of Afyonkarahisar/Turkey was considered for analysis. The results showed that the lower the outdoor temperature, the greater the optimum insulation thickness. For the same outside temperature, the optimum insulation thickness would become larger for higher pipe diameter. The exergetic cost saving decreases as the annual exergy losses depending on heat transfer decreases while increasing outdoor temperature. In addition, annual fuel consumption which is an important aspect of insulation materials and outdoor temperatures is shown to be decreasing with the use of optimum thickness. Finally, insulation means less fuel consumption therefore less emission. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 784–789, 2013