History of HTIW Products

Product timeline graph
  • 1942 Refractory Ceramic Fiber (RCF) invented
  • 1953 RCF became a commercially available product
  • 1970s Use of RCF grew as a result of the energy crisis
  • 1970s Polycrystalline Wool (PCW) invented
  • 1980s Alkaline Earth Silicate Wool (AES) invented
  • 1990s Nomenclature changed to High Temperature Insulation Wool (HTIW)

The term Refractory Ceramic Fibers (RCFs) was adopted as the original fibers were made by fusing calcined kaolin at a temperature approaching 3600°F (2000°C) and then fiberizing a stream of the molten material. By analogy with traditional pottery processes, which also use kaolin, the name “ceramic” was chosen.

The use of High Temperature Insulation Wools increased substantially in the 1970s. Their popularity stemmed from a combination of fast-rising energy costs and growing awareness of their benefits – which include excellent heat resistance, low thermal conductivity, excellent thermal shock resistance, low mass and great flexibility.

For example, industrial furnace operators realized that they could greatly reduce their energy consumption and costs by replacing conventional hard refractories with RCF. The hard refractories had to be kept constantly hot, even when industrial production was not on stream, while with the use of RCF linings, operators could provide a more stable temperature and faster temperature increase when needed to begin production. This replacement was cost effective, in spite of the fact that the RCF products were relatively expensive at the time.

Since the 1980s, HTIWs have also been used in the automotive industry, in the production of exhaust systems, catalytic converters and more recently diesel particulate filters. Such products play a key role in reducing harmful emissions from vehicles and in improving air quality for the general public. A small but important proportion of HTIW products is used in the production of various fire protection and fire prevention products.

Due to the ambiguity of the term “ceramic” and the development of new materials for the high-temperature range, the nomenclature was changed to High Temperature Insulation Wools (HTIWs) at the end of the 1990s.