The history of the High-temperature insulation wool

- Jun 11, 2018-

History of HTIW

Humans have used fire for melting and heat treating metals for thousands of years. To ensure safe working with the fire, for melting and working metals (bronze, iron), special refractory materials were needed to enable the handling of liquid or hot metals. To meet the needs of the wide-ranging 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 thermal insulation, glass wool and rock wool being used in the low-temperature range (around 200 °C to maximum 500 °C).

In the 1960s, aluminium-silicate-based "refractory ceramic fibre" 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. Due to the development of new material types the nomenclature of high-temperature insulation wool was redefined in Germany at the end of the 1990s. (VDI 3469.[1]). Although even today the term "ceramic fibre" or "refractory ceramic fibre" is commonly used it is inaccurate in terms of the materials available, their specific properties and limitations.

Thermal insulation with HTIW enabled a more lightweight construction of industrial furnaces and other technical equipment (heating systems, automobiles), resulting in many economic and ecological benefits. Consequences are smaller wall thicknesses and considerably lower lining masses.

Comparison of the mass for the different wall linings

  • Heavyweight lining: 1500–3500 kg/m³,

  • Lightweight lining: 500–1000 kg/m³,

  • Lining with HTIW: 160–300 kg/m³.