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What are the advantages of High-Density Calcium Silicate in industry?

Industrial facilities operating high-temperature applications have come to trust High-Density Calcium Silicate sheets and rods for insulation – and with good reason.

Plant operations involved in chemical production, refineries and electric power generation use the material in high-temperature pipe supports and other equipment for its high-quality thermal and electrical insulation properties. It also appears in other piping and applications and block insulation. But what else makes it so effective and advantageous in these environments?

  • High temperature tolerance: High-Density Calcium Silicate can withstand temperatures of up to 1,000 oC.
  • Non-hazardous: The material is free of Asbestos, Mercury and Lead.
  • Machinable: The material can be machined to tight tolerances using carbide-tipped tooling and is available in machined component form as well as sheets and rods.
  • Highly versatile: Calcium Silicate is characterised by high strength and dimensional stability, while being adaptable for use on a wide variety of surface shapes and sizes.

A brief history of Ca2SiO4 – Calcium Silicate

Though occurring naturally as the mineral Larnite, the commercial production of Calcium Silicate components such as sheets is today done by a press-moulding method from a humidified mixture of Silica materials and Limestone followed by hardening under the conditions of saturated steam in an autoclave.

However, its origins began in the 19th century when a German researcher produced the material by exposing Sand and Limestone to pressurised steam. Its industrial-level production potential was scaled up only with the introduction of rotating presses, designed in England and first deployed in Germany in 1894.

High-temperature insulation

When the dangers of using Asbestos in high-temperature insulation applications became clear in the latter part of the 20th century, industry turned to Calcium Silicate as a safe alternative, with increased production of industrial-grade pipes and equipment from the material. Where Asbestos was present in early uses of Calcium Silicate for insulation, this practice is discontinued today.

Its adoption for industrial plant equipment has also benefited from a number of other factors:

  • Relatively low and very stable thermal conductivity
  • High thermal shock resistance (resistance to sudden temperature changes)
  • Flexural strength and strength under compression
  • Non-combustibility
  • Ability to withstand vibration caused by components such as valves and measuring devices interrupting steam flowing through pipes
  • Robust enough to maintain insulating efficiency even when exposed to the harshest treatment or damage
  • Water insolubility
  • Less susceptible to corrosion through low chloride content
  • Electrical insulating ability when dry
  • Extremely slight shrinkage has rarely any influence on effective performance

According to market reports, insulation remains the most popular application for the material and is predicted to continue this way until at least 2025.

Non-industrial uses of Calcium Silicate you may not know about

Apart from its valued use in thermal insulation in industry, Calcium Silicate is one of the most popular materials used in masonry in Europe, thanks to its load-bearing capacity, fire resistance, and sound and thermal insulation properties.

Industry and construction aside, it’s also used much closer to home as an anti-caking agent in food preparation – including table salt – and as a food additive approved by the United Nations.

Click here to view the Goodfellow range of High-Density Calcium Silicate sheets and rods.