Since 1954, Chemax Tracit™ heat transfer compounds (mastics) have been an essential component of externally heated process pipes, valves, tanks, and vessels for temperature maintenance and freeze protection. Efficient process heating installations are critical for oil refineries, sulfur recovery units, asphalt facilities, pulp and paper mills, and chemical plants.
Tracit heat transfer compound is applied onto steam, hot oil, or glycol heat tracing prior to insulating, providing an economical alternative to jacketing or electric tracing. Other industrial applications include tank heating with clamp-on (plate-type) coils, heat exchangers, electric heaters, and heating jackets.
The primary purpose of these highly conductive mastics is to improve the heat transfer between two surfaces by increasing the contact area and eliminating the air flow. Heat may be transferred between two surfaces by conduction, convection, or radiation. Conduction is by far the most effective method of heat transfer. Tests have shown that systems utilizing Tracit thermal conduction compounds have at least 50% greater heat transfer rates over less efficient "bare" radiation and convection installations. Only one Tracit line is required to maintain pipe temperature, where at least three bare (convection) tracers would typically be needed.
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The idea of heat tracing is to keep your process line at a temperature that will enable its contents to flow throughout the entire pipe length when there is no flow through the pipe. Once a flow has been established, the tracing’s job is done until the next no-flow condition. Most industrial plants use steam for process heating due to its ease of availability. Although heat tracing is used extensively, it is subject to limitations:
A bare tracer contacts the pipe only intermittently, and the heat transfer path is therefore mostly through the air within the inner air space of the insulation. Air is a good insulator but a poor conductor.
By using Chemax heat conducting cement, a path of heat transfer is created from the outside wall of the tracer to the pipe wall, thus making faster heat-up time and higher pipe temperatures possible.
Experiments have shown that the heat transfer coefficients for bare steam tracers have ranges from 1 to 5 BTU/HR-sq. ft.°F. “U” factors for steam tracers with heat transfer cement are in the range of 20-40 (BTU/HR-sq FT-°F)!
Installing a conductive heat path between the tracer and outside pipe wall surface eliminates the air as the limiting (controlling) heat transfer resistance. Now more heat is delivered to the inside wall of the pipe than the fluid in the pipe can keep up with.
The wall of the pipe directly under the heat transfer compound becomes hotter than the adjacent pipe wall. Heat travels freely through the thick metallic wall of the pipe causing the entire wall of the pipe to begin to heat-up. Now the heat transfer area is increased to the point where the heat transfer rate of the inside fluid can keep up with the high heat transfer from the tracer area and through the heat transfer cement.
A tracer with heat transfer cement can effectively heat through a six-inch section of pipe.
Chemax TRACIT-300 hardening heat transfer mastic was designed for use on steam tracing (tubing) on process piping. This material will cure to an almost rock-hard state after less than 24 hours, and has an upper temperature limit of 750°F (400°C).
For systems running at higher temperatures, consider using our TRACIT-600A, which has a maximum usage temperature limit of 1250°F (675°C).
Chemax CC Channels reduce installation time and offer extra weather protection. Available in either galvanized or stainless metal fabricated to convenient 4-ft sections. 1/2″x.020″ type 304 stainless steel banding and crimp seals also sold.
Chemax non-hardening heat transfer mastics were designed for use with externally heated tanks and vessels. These compounds operate on the principles of conduction, so they may be used to either heat or cool process equipment. Plate-type heating coils installed with Chemax non-hardening mastic increase heat transfer rates by up to a tenfold.
Tracit non-hardening mastic maximizes heat flow from coil to tank. Chemax non-hardening mastics are waterproof and will act as a corrosion barrier.
TRACIT-1100 remains soft and pliable, and is easily installed or removed with a trowel. No premixing required, and mastic never expires.
An overview of the benefits of using Chemax TRACIT heat transfer cements on your externally heated system.