What is Marine Insulation?

When referring to marine insulation, we simply mean the marine application of insulation, which can be found in commercial vessels, shipping vessels, offshore oil rigs, boats and yachts. Although, marine insulation is typically found in floors, wall and ceilings of a ship, there are many different applications for insulation. Why is this important to know? Well unlike other commercial properties and areas, insulating marine properties requires specific standards and must meet certain regulations for effectiveness. Organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have set rules and regulations to adhere by vis-a-vis insulation.

Luckily, advancements in insulation technology have made it easier to meet marine insulation technicalities and specifications. Insulations such as fibreglass, stone-wool and foam-based insulants have made insulating ships, boats and other vessels a whole lot easier. Higher quality insulants can offer superior insulation properties while adhering to specific necessities for marine application, such as being lightweight, water impermeable, thermal resistant, fire resistant and soundproofing qualities.

Marine Insulation Applications

Insulating marine properties and equipment varies across each type and every insulation solution has qualities unique to itself. Therefore, some forms of insulation may be best applied to certain areas depending on its qualities. Some of the core qualities of marine insulation are as follows:

1. Acoustic Insulation

Noise pollution can easily build up on marine vessels, commercial ships and the alike, causing numerous issues, therefore, installing insulation with acoustic properties may be beneficial. Sound vibrations have been known to cause a disturbance to those working on ships and even structural damages.

Importantly, there are limitations to noise and vibration transmissions that is currently set under the ISO standard 6954, therefore, it is important to insulate engines and their components, despite it being turbine, electrical or diesel.

2. Fire Insulation

There have been one too many fire-related accidents on commercial vessels, oil rigs, ships and more, therefore, in order to resist against and help prevent fire outbreaks, insulation can be used. Non-combustible insulation is available and offers great benefits to help prevent the spread of fires, specifically, stone wool insulation, can help resist against fire. Additional types of non-combustible insulation can be applied to also benefits the structure, accompanied as foil-facing where necessary.

3. Water Impermeable

Spray foam is a known insulation that can help stop the passing of water and prevent the growth of mould and rot, which would otherwise weaken structures. Using an insulant that prevents the passing of water, growing of mould and humidity and the weakening of structures can be beneficial when used for marine applications.

4. Thermal Insulation

Insulation that carries superior thermal properties can both benefits vessels and the people aboard, workers and customers alike. In order to create a more habitable environment, thermal insulation in rooms and personal areas can maintain comfortable living and working temperatures.

In relation to container shipping vessels, thermal insulation can be used to maintain a certain temperature level, whether that needs to be cold or hot, containers may require a consistent temperature. Therefore, investing in thermal insulation for marine application may be necessary.

Marine Insulation vs Standard Insulation

The marine application of insulation is different to the traditional forms and applications. For example, sea ferrying vessels will be exposed to high quantities of water and subject to humidity. These both can be responsible for negatively affecting materials and structures. Therefore, insulation with high water-resistant properties is more favourable in the cases of marine application.

Additionally, fire resistant insulation bares more weight regarding marine application of insulation, more so than standard residential or commercial insulation. In a marine environment, the insulation material should be non-combustible with the added benefits of thermal insulation, soundproofing and more. However, depending on the application, some other properties may be necessary to meet standards, such as reducing noise pollution to meet ISO standards.