Ceramic insulation and textiles are fibrous refractories or thermal insulation products that consist of ceramic fibers in bulk, cloth, batting, paper or rope forms. There are many types of products. Blankets consist of thick layers of woven or nonwoven fabric sheets. Woven materials are used for composite tooling and the formation of multi-dimensional structures. Nonwoven materials are shaped into mats of randomly oriented fibers. Ceramic fabric or cloth is made by weaving, knitting, braiding, or extrusion. Materials can also be needlepunched or formed from slurries (wet laid). Fibrous monofilaments or single-fiber threads are often used in reinforcement applications. Multi-fiber threads are used in sewing or stitching. Roving is made of tows, untwisted bundles of continuous filaments. Yarn is made of continuous, plied strands of natural or synthetic fibers. Heat-insulating rope is used to provide a thermal seal around doors or other openings in furnace walls. Sleeves or wraps are flexible, fibrous refractories for insulating pipes, tubes, ducts and other process components. Common types of ceramic insulation and textiles include woven ribbons, webbing, strapping, and tape.
Ceramic insulation and textiles are made of many different types of materials. Alumina or aluminum-oxide is a popular, relatively inexpensive ceramic material with high hardness. Alumina has poor thermal shock resistance in comparison to silicon carbide, a green or black ceramic material that is used to prevent oxidation at very high temperatures in non-reducing atmospheres. Zirconia or zirconium oxide is more expensive than alumina, but is better suited for applications that require improved fracture-toughness and stiffness. Zirconia is extremely refractory and often contains additions of calcia, magnesia or yttria for the formation of cubic structures that minimize cracking and weakening during heating and cooling. Carbon is a non-metallic element with an extremely high sublimation temperature and a wide variety of crystalline structures. Boron fibers are available as monofilaments and used to provide structural reinforcement. Fused silica and quartz are common materials for ceramic insulation and textiles. Some products include mineral wools such as slag wool, glass wool, or rock wool. Other products contain metal fiber additions.
Ceramic insulation and textiles differ in terms of dimensions, properties, and features. Dimensions include fiber denier, fabric weight, overall thickness, overall width or outer diameter (OD), and overall length. Use temperature, fabric strength, and breaking strength are important properties to consider. Thermal conductivity is the linear heat transfer per unit area through a material for a given applied temperature. Resistivity is the longitudinal electrical resistance in a uniform cross-section. In terms of features, ceramic insulation and textiles may be flame retardant, chemical or fuel resistant, electrically conductive, electrically insulating, or fireproof. Sound proofing or acoustic insulation materials are used to form a barrier between components and sources of noise or vibration. Often, foam materials are used to diffuse sound without causing a large degree of attenuation. Hydrophilic and hydrophobic ceramic insulation and textiles are commonly available. Products with a UL 94 rating from conform to Flame Class 94V-0 standards from Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
There are many applications for ceramic insulation and textiles. Some products are designed for aerospace, automotive, marine, medical, or transportation applications. Others are suitable for chemical processing applications because of their ability to resist high temperatures and corrosive environments. Fibrous ceramics and refractories are used to fabricate electrical and electronic components such as insulators, igniters, and heating elements. Ceramic insulation and textiles are also used in clothing such as outer garments that protect personnel from extreme thermal or chemical conditions. Cut-resistant and bullet proof materials, as well as products from original equipment manufacturers (OEM), are also available.
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Industrial fabrics consist of woven or non-woven cloth made from natural or synthetic materials.
Nonwovens are fiber-based products that are formed into mats of randomly-oriented fibers, felt, needlepunched cloth, spunbond, or meltblown structures.
Specialty Fibers, Fabrics, and Textiles
Specialty fibers, fabrics and textiles are based upon a unique composition, weave, or technology, and are designed for specialized applications.
Synthetic Fibers and Fabrics
Synthetic fibers and synthetic fabrics consist of bulk fibers, yarns, woven cloth or other textile products manufactured from polymer-based materials such as polyamide (nylon), polyester, aramid, or other spun thermoplastics.