Insulation Materials and Temperature Ranges

Temperature limits of some common insulation materials

Temperature limits of some common insulation materials are indicated in the table below:

Insulation Material Temperature Range
Low High
(oC) (oF) (oC) (oF)
Calcium Silicate -18 0 650 1200
Cellular Glass -260 -450 480 900
Elastomeric foam -55 -70 120 250
Fiberglass -30 -20 540 1000
Mineral Wool, Ceramic fiber 1200 2200
Mineral Wool, Glass 0 32 250 480
Mineral Wool, Stone 0 32 760 1400
Phenolic foam     150 300
Polyisocyanurate or polyiso -180 -290 150 300
Polystyrene -50 -60 75 165
Polyurethane -210 -350 120 250
Vermiculite -272 -459 760 1400

Calcium Silicate Insulation

Non-asbestos Calcium Silicate insulation board and pipe insulation feature with light weight, low thermal conductivity, high temperature and chemical resistance.

Cellular Glass Insulation

Cellular glass insulation is composed of crushed glass combined with a cellulating agent.

These components are mixed, placed in a mold, and then heated to a temperature of approximately 950 oF. During the heating process, the crushed glass turns to a liquid. Decomposition of the cellulating agent will cause the mixture to expand and fill the mold. The mixture creates millions of connected, uniform, closed-cells and form at the end a rigid insulating material.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose is made from shredded recycled paper, such as newsprint or cardboard. It's treated with chemicals to make it fire- and insect-resistant, and is applied as loose-fill or wet-sprayed through a machine.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is the most common type of insulation. It's made from molten glass spun into microfibers.

Mineral Wool Insulation

mineral wool insulation

Mineral wool is made from molten glass, stone, ceramic fibre or slag that is spun into a fiber-like structure. Inorganic rock or slag are the main components (typically 98%) of stone wool. The remaining 2% organic content is generally a thermosetting resin binder (an adhesive) and a little oil.

Polyurethane insulation

Polyurethane is an organic polymer formed by reacting a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a diisocyanate or a polymeric isocyanate in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives.

Polyurethanes are flexible foams used in mattresses, chemical-resistant coatings, adhesives and sealants, insulation for buildings and technical applications like heat exchangers, cooling pipes and much more.

Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene is an excellent insulator. It is manufactured in two ways:

  • Extrusion - which results in fine, closed cells, containing a mixture of air and refrigerant gas
  • Molded or expanded - which produces coarse, closed cells containing air

Extruded polystyrene, or XPS, is a closed-cell, thermal plastic material manufactured by a variety of extrusion processes. The main applications of extruded polystyrene insulation are in building insulation and construction in general.

Molded or expanded polystyrene is commonly called beadboard and has a lower R-value than extruded polystyrene.

Polyisocyanurate Insulation

Polyisocyanurate or polyiso is a thermosetting type of plastic, closed-cell foam that contains a low-conductivity gas (usually hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFC) in its cells.

Related Topics

  • Heat Loss and Insulation - Heat loss from pipes, tubes and tanks - with and without insulation - foam, fiberglass, rockwool and more
  • Insulation - Heat transfer and heat loss from buildings and technical applications - insulation methods and coefficients to reduce energy consumption
  • Heat Loss and Insulation - Steam and condensate pipes - heat loss uninsulated and insulated pipes, insulation thickness and more

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