Principially, a thermal insulation structure for piping consists of an appropriate insulating material, usually covered by sheet metal cladding. This protects the pipe and the insulation from external influences such as weather or mechanical loads.

Spacers are also essential with insulation material such as wired mats , which do not offer sufficient resistance to pressure to hold the weight of the cladding and other external loads. These spacers transfer the loads from the cladding directly onto the pipe to be insulated. in case of vertical piping, support structures are fitted to take on the loads of the insulation and the cladding. In general, support structures and spacers form thermal bridges.

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