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Steel ingots kept cool in transit with long fibre thermal insulation

Morgan Advanced Materials (Stourport) : 14 October, 2013  (Application Story)
Morgan Advanced Materials’ technical prowess and inventiveness were put to the test when Nugteren Transport BV, a Dutch company involved in the transfer of large loads and units, needed to design a safe and effective method of transportation for hot steel ingots that ensured the ingots would lose minimal heat during transit. Previously, during transportation, the steel ingots cooled from a temperature of around 800 to approximately 50C, and then were re-heated at the customer site.
Steel ingots kept cool in transit with long fibre thermal insulation
Under the new system, the steel ingots would be loaded at a typical temperature of 600C and expected to arrive at the customer having cooled by no more than 50C over a five-hour period – negating the need for an expensive and time-consuming re-heating process. This meant finding an effective insulation for the vehicle trailers in which the ingots would be carried.
Moors Ovenbouw BV of Diessen were engaged to undertake the project. The first step was to insulate the floor of the trailer, making it safe, while maintaining sufficient strength to handle the loading of heavy ingots to a total weight of 25tonnes. The floor also needed to provide an airtight joint between the trailer and the insulated hood placed over the load. 
The floor was constructed using a base layer of Superwool Plus Blok from Morgan Advanced Materials. This low biopersistent fibre product made from silicate alklaine fibre is designed for high-temperature insulation applications, and was chosen for a number of reasons:
  • density (320kg/m<3>;
  • combination of strength and flexibility;
  • ability to cope with the 25 tonne steel load without cracking or deforming;
  • (most important) 30% improved insulation value when compared with calcium silicate board - minimising heat loss and therefore saving energy.
The material is environmentally friendly, with EU waste regulations classifying the material as unhazardous.
The Superwool Plus Blok was covered with a layer of sand and the frame edge was made of Morgan’s JM26 Insulating Firebricks which gave the structure sufficient strength to handle the initial load of the hood before making an airtight seal.
The hood was constructed from a steel casing which can be demounted for loading and unloading. A 100mm thickness of stack-mounted Superwool Plus 128kg/m<3> was used in the lining of the hood. The stack mounting optimised the strength of the lining – a key consideration given that while the vehicle would be travelling at speeds of up to 80kph, with the associated vibration and forces created by stopping, starting and turning. 
Superwool Plus delivers energy-saving benefits by maximising the number of fibres available in the insulation layer, thereby reducing thermal conductivity. As a result, it minimises the total energy lost while having a more compact footprint than many other insulation materials.
Initial tests delivered impressive results. While the system was designed to maintain a temperature fall of no more than 50C over a five-hour period, Nugteren Transport BV reported that the temperature fall over that time was actually less than 25C. Even when the ingots were left in the vehicle over a full weekend, products loaded on a Friday still reached the customer on the following Monday at a temperature of 375C. Furthermore, over the duration of the test, the external temperature of the hood did not exceed 70C, the maximum temperature allowed by the RDW (Dutch Department of Transport).
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