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Corrosion Under Insulation Examination to Prevent Failures in Equipment at a Petrochemical Plant

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An examination of the corrosion under insulation phenomenon in insulated equipment at a petrochemical plant with the purpose of preventing corrosion-attributed failures was carried out. The study was performed after a risk-based inspection analysis identified the equipment with higher risks of developing corrosion under insulation. Visual inspections of several accessories located at several positions of the current process unit’s pipelines, heat exchangers, filters and pressure vessels were performed after the insulation was removed. Among the main findings, most accessories (nozzles, insulation support rings) located at the top of the equipment showed moderate corrosion. Additionally, there were differences in the results depending on the insulation material (mineral wool, foam glass or calcium silicate) covering the equipment/accessories. This work showed how adequate and timely monitoring and management of corrosion can successfully prevent costly and frequent failures associated with corrosion under insulation.

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American Petroleum Institute


Carbon steel (low-carbon/mild-carbon steel)


Consequence of failure


Corrosion under insulation


Damage factor


Financial cost


Likelihood of failure


Probability of failure


Risk-based inspection


Recommended practice


Stainless steel


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The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the petrochemical plant personnel in performing this study.

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Correspondence to Andres Marquez.

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Marquez, A., Singh, J. & Maharaj, C. Corrosion Under Insulation Examination to Prevent Failures in Equipment at a Petrochemical Plant. J Fail. Anal. and Preven. 21, 723–732 (2021).

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