High temperature insulation, commonly referred to as ceramic fiber, is a ceramic material manufactured from alumina silicate glass which is used for thermal insulation in high temperature applications and processes up to 700 °C.
Calcium silicate is commonly used as another safe alternative to asbestos for high temperature insulation materials. Industrial grade piping and equipment insulation is often fabricated from calcium silicate. Calcium silicate competes in these realms against rockwool as well as proprietary insulation solids, such as perlite mixture and vermiculite bonded with sodium silicate. Although it is popularly considered an asbestos substitute, early uses of calcium silicate for insulation still made use of asbestos fibers.
The History of High Temperature Insulation
For thousands of years, man has used fire for melting and heat treating. For safety reasons, special refractory materials were needed to enable the handling of hot liquid or metals . To meet the needs of the wide-range of applications, a large number of shaped, dense materials (refractory bricks, chamotte), shaped heat-insulating materials (lightweight refractory bricks) and unshaped refractory materials (heavy- and lightweight ramming mixes) have been developed, which are used for special high-temperature applications.
For decades, however, other manmade materials have been used for high temperature insulation, glass wool andmineral wool being used in the low-temperature range (around 200°C to maximum 500°C).
In the 1960s, aluminum-silicate-based “ceramic” products were launched on the market in Europe. Due to their high temperature-resistance and good technical properties (i.e. good thermal shock resistance and low thermal conductivity), they quickly became the reference for industrial high-temperature insulation. The nomenclature of high-temperature insulation wools was redefined in Germany at the end of the 1990s. The common trade term remains “ceramic fibre”, however.
Thermal insulation with high-temperature insulation wool enabled a more lightweight construction of industrial furnaces and other technical equipment (i.e. heating systems and automobiles), resulting in many economic and ecological benefits. Benefits include smaller wall thicknesses and considerably lower lining masses which greatly increases the efficiency of the system.
Unifrax Engineered Thermal Components offers a versatile line of high temperature insulation products designed to contain or direct heat and to satisfy new applications in a wide assortment of industries.