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Heat-tracing systems can be divided into two broad classes, electric and fluid. Fluid heat-tracing
systems utilize heating media at elevated temperatures to transfer heat to a pipeline.
The pipe will contained the fluid then it will be attached to the traced pipe. If the type of heat
tracing used is steam, the condensate will return to the boiler, otherwise dumped. If the type of
heat tracing used is organic heat transfer fluid, it will returned to heat exchanger for reheating
and recirculation. This kind of heating of trace fluid can be obtained by waste heat from burning
of fossil fuels, steam as well as electricity.
One of the example, which is electric heat-tracing systems will convert electric power to
heat and transfer it to the pipe which contained fluid. Nowadays, common used of electric heattracing systems is resistive type and in form of cable that placed on pipe. Basically, there are two
types of heat-tracing which are fluid heat tracing and electric heat tracing. Each of them provided
different heat-tracing methods. Steam, organics and glycols are the methods that have been used
for fluid heat-tracing. Meanwhile, heat tracing method used for electric heat tracing is selfregulating, MI cable, Zone, skin effect, impedance, and inductance. Table 1 lists the operating
and exposure temperatures and the principal characteristics of the different types of heat tracing.

Table 1. Comparison of Heat-Tracing Methods


Basically, steam method is commonly used in fluid heat-tracing in order to maintain process
temperature and provide freeze protection. Steam have high latent heat which obtained
from vaporization is the best used for heat transfer applications. Small quantity of large
heating load can heat line quickly which condense at constant temperature and flow to the
point without pumping. Steam is non-toxic substances and widely available.
Nowadays, in order to choose heat-tracing system, they need to take as consideration by
choosing the best energy efficiency, low labor cost, and economical. The disadvantages of
using steam method are, it is more costly to install and do maintenance than electric
resistance heaters.
Next, the benefits of using steam tracer is single steam tracer provide heat 2-10 times than
any method. Meanwhile, electric tracing systems provide better temperature control and
energy efficient. Thus, cost per unit energy is lower for steam, and the total energy costs for
electric absolutely the lowest.

Fig 1: Typical components of a steam-tracing system

Based on data in table 1, for 6 hour power supply, 0.5 in pipe diameter using water as fluid heat

tracing is expected to have major experience system upset. This is because the pipe is able to
reach frozen solid when it is reaching its final temperature in 4 hours compare to long power
supply which is 6 hour. Meanwhile, for light fuel oil as fluid heat tracing will experience
minimum heat loss as it reach its final temperature is 7 hours.
For 2 hours power supply failure, I think there will no system will undergo major failure or
system upset. This is because final temperature for both system is still above the time of power
failure in order to have effect on fluid heat tracing.