Liquid flows through the pipe, with heat exchanged with the insulation. Heat is lost from the insulation to the environment via convection (no radiation losses are considered). The thermal effects of the pipe wall are ignored (although this can be easily implemented).

These equations are used in the spreadsheet to define the heat transfer process.

- q is the heat flowrate through the pipe and insulation (W m
^{-1}) - T
_{s}is the temperature at the surface of the insulation (K) - T
_{a}is the ambient air temperature (K) - T
_{f}is the fluid temperature inside the pipe (K) - D
_{O}is the pipe diameter (m) - D
_{S}is the outside diameter of the insulated pipe (i.e. the pipe diameter plus two times the insulation thickness) (m) - k is the insulation thermal conductivity (W m
^{-1}K^{-1}) - ΔT is the temperature difference between the insulation surface and ambient air T
_{s}-T_{a }(K) - h
_{s}is the insulation-to-air heat surface heat transfer coefficient (W m^{2}K^{-1})

The equation for the surface heat transfer h

_{s}coefficient is a correlation; any other valid relationship can be substituted.
The equations are implicit - the heat transfer coefficient is a function of the surface temperature T

_{s}, but the surface temperature is a function of the heat transfer coefficient.
Hence the equations need to be solved iteratively with Goal Seek in Excel. Simply

- break the loop by estimating a value of T
_{s}, - use this to calculate all other properties (including the heat transfer rate)
- use the heat transfer rate to backcalculate T
_{s} - use Goal Seek to make the two values of T
_{s}equal by varying the estimated value of T_{s}(or any other parameter

You can easily modify the heat transfer equations to include more complex effects, such as effect of fouling on the pipe surface, multiple layers of different insulation, radiative losses, thick large pipe walls (which act as a heat sink) etc.