Jacketed piping systems play a key part in a number of industries today. 

From the efficient piping of cryogenic substances to the transportations of viscous products, they’re essential to maintain an adequate temperature control during transferring processes all while avoiding inefficiencies.

Keep reading to find out what jacketed piping systems are, their benefits and applications, as well as how to ensure you have access to the right piping system design.

What are jacketed piping systems?

Jacketed piping systems are specialized piping structures used to transport fluids at controlled temperatures. 

Jacket piping systems are primarily used to provide precise control over temperature-sensitive reactions or processes when transferring a substance. But they incorporate further benefits, such as acting as a containment for any potential leaks or spills, thus preventing harmful substances from escaping into the surrounding environment. 

These systems consist of:

  • An inner pipe in charge of carrying the process fluid. It is typically made of materials suitable for the specific application, considering factors such as chemical compatibility, temperature, pressure, and corrosion resistance.
  • An outer jacket that surrounds the inner pipe. This jacket is designed to contain a heating or cooling medium (such as steam, hot water, or chilled water) which provides temperature control to the substance inside the inner pipe. It is usually made from materials compatible with the jacket medium and the specific environmental conditions that the piping systems will face, with common jacket materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, or other alloys.
  • Insulation is often applied between the inner pipe and the outer jacket to minimize heat transfer between the process fluid and the surrounding environment. 
  • Jacket Connections for the inlet and outlet of the heating or cooling medium. Valves and control devices may also be incorporated for flow control and temperature regulation.
  • Supports and Hangers to ensure the stability and integrity of the jacketed piping system, providing structural support and maintaining alignment.
  • Expansion Joints to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction of the piping system. 

Additionally, some of the benefits of jacketed piping systems include:

  • Preservation of the quality of substances
  • Elimination of evaporation issues and heat leaks
  • Enhanced safety and hygiene (minimizing problems such as moisture on pipes)
  • Reduction of gas leaks and their consequent financial and safety risks

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Uses and applications of jacketed piping systems

Jacketed systems are employed for a number of specific applications: they’re used when precise temperature control, containment, and protection from atmospheric effects are required.

As such, their current expansion and applications are closely related to the use of technical gasses in a number of industries, including the following:

  1. Chemical industry: Jacketed piping systems are extensively employed as an aid for processes such as heating, cooling, and temperature maintenance of various chemical reactions that require precise control and uniform heat distribution.
  2. Petrochemical and Refining: jacketed piping systems are involved in controlling the temperature of fluids during various stages of the refining process such as heating and cooling of hydrocarbons, controlling the viscosity of heavy oils, and preventing the crystallization of waxy substances.
  3. Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology: these piping systems are also essential to ensure consistent and controlled conditions for critical processes in drug development and production. With the importance of liquid oxygen (LOX) in the medicinal and pharmaceutical industry growing, jacketed piping systems are more in demand.
  4. Food and Beverage: controlling fermentation processes and maintaining precise temperatures during food processing are two of the key operations in need of jacketed piping systems. At the same time, the use of liquid nitrogen in the food sector has seen this sector demanding more of these structures.
  5. Oil and Gas Industry: they are involved in maintaining the required fluid conditions for optimal extraction, transportation, and processing of hydrocarbons.

reference list cryolines

Types of jacketed piping systems

We’ve already described above the basic structure for jacketed piping systems: an inner pipe that carries the process fluid, an outer jacket that surrounds the inner pipe and a heating or cooling medium that flows between these two. 

At the same time, jacketed systems can take different shapes and forms. On the one hand, some piping system design include different piping textures (such as dimples, cavities or channels) for more efficient heat transfer. 

Then, there’s the possibility to design rigid systems or flexible ones. Finally, the most common classification for these types of piping discern between:

  1. Continuous jacketing: in which all components are covered by the jacketed pipe, including flanges, fittings, valves and branches
  2. Discontinuous jacketing: the jacket covers only the straight sections of the pipe, so that branch connections, elbows, and other fittings, and valves are not jacketed.

Finally, some additional configurations in jacketed piping systems may include the incorporation of a vacuum jacketed piping for the additional temperature control that is required in certain applications (such as the transfer of cryogenic substances).

Related post: Pipe in pipe: the ideal cryogenic pipes for bunkering plants

Design considerations about jacketed piping systems: what you should pay attention to

Efficient and safe operations can only be achieved through a correct design of jacketed piping systems. In fact, these tend to be more complex than standard piping structures, so that some key design considerations for jacketed piping systems include:

  1. Thermal expansion: a differential thermal expansion between the inner pipe and the jacket must be accounted for in the design, so that there’s sufficient flexibility to prevent stress or damage to the piping system.
  2. Fluid pressure: as the inner pipe will be subjected to both internal and external pressure, its thickness should be designed accordingly. 
  3. Heat transfer efficiency: the design should optimize heat transfer between the process fluid and the heating or cooling medium. This can be influenced by factors such as jacket configuration (conventional, dimple, half-pipe, etc.), flow rates, material selection, and surface area contact influence the heat transfer efficiency. Maximizing the contact area and ensuring proper flow distribution within the jacket enhance heat transfer performance.
  4. Locations of media ports: while inlet ports should be located at the lowest point of the process pipe, outlet ports should be at the highest point, so that the media is able to fill the jacket pipe.
  5. Temperature control: the jacket design should be able to provide effective temperature control for the process fluid, offering proper insulation 
  6. Slope: a certain slope must be incorporated so that it facilitates the draining of the process fluid from the inner pipe 
  7. Flow directions: fluids in the pipe and the jacket should flow in opposite directions
  8. Material selection: successful  piping system design will ensure compatibility between the process fluid, heating or cooling medium, and the piping materials.
  9. Minimizing breaks: a minimum number of break flanges and joints should be aimed at to reduce total costs. 
  10. Jacket width and type: the multiple configurations for the jacket should be considered to generate the most suitable piping system design according to each project’s needs
  11. Connectors: connectors in jacketed piping systems are more complex than those used in standard process piping and should be adequately incorporated into the design
  12. Stress analysis: because of the temperature differences and other factors in jacketed piping systems, potential stresses of both pipes should be considered and analyzed 

Additionally, design for jacketed systems should strictly observe all relevant safety regulations and features, as well as comply with applicable regulatory codes and standards. 

Keep reading: Why thermal shields are important in cryogenic pipes

Cyospain jacketed piping projects 

At Cryospain we offer our cryogenic engineering expertise to generate custom jacketed piping designs and implementation. We guarantee each project’s specific requirements are met while complying with the most strict international regulations. 

Get in touch with us and speak to our team to discover how we can help you have access to the right jacketed piping system for your project.

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