Ceramic yarn is one of the man-made mineral fibers, popularly known as mineral wool. They are made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. Ceramic yarn is noted for its high temperature resistance above 1000°C. Textile made from ceramic fiber yarns have outstanding characteristics of lightweight, low thermal conductivity and chemical stability that can resist attack from most corrosive agents. The ceramic fiber yarns are used in high temperature sealing and in producing ceramic fiber tape, rope or fabrics. The ceramic fabrics are widely used in thermal insulation industry.
The Making of Ceramic Yarn
To make ceramic fibers, chemicals like silica are heated until they are molten, and then they are spun into hair-like strands. To make ceramic yarns, ceramic fibers are carded with a blend of organic fibers to make rovings. Rovings are soft strands of fiber that have been twisted, attenuated, and freed from foreign matters such as dust etc. before converting into yarn. Then a reinforcement of glass filament or steel wire is introduced to it. This combination is then spun to produce the ceramic yarns. In applications where tensile strength is significant, textiles manufactured from a glass filament reinforced yarn may be used up to 550ºC. Textiles manufactured from steel reinforced yarn may be used up to 1050°C. Where tensile strength is not so important, yarns and textiles may be used up to 1260ºC.
Industrial Applications of Ceramic Yarn Fabrics
Ceramic yarns and textiles are mainly applied to a wide range of high temperature sealing and insulating applications. It means that they are used in materials that come in contact of high temperatures so as to prevent or reduce the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat and electricity. A good example of this type of product is ceramic blankets. Ceramic fiber ropes are also used as heat insulation materials and a substitute for asbestos rope. NASA engineers had used ceramics for Shuttle tiles that could stand up to the heat of reentry. The fibers were used to fill gaps between orbiter tiles and were woven into insulation blankets, heat shields and other protective items.
General Uses of Ceramic Yarn Fabrics
Apart from being used in industries as insulating material, ceramic yarn is now also used for warm weather fashion clothing due to its cool nature. However, such fabrics have ceramic in very low percentage. For example, one of such ceramic fabrics is made up of 95% rayon & 5% ceramic. They keep the wearers cool and protect their skin from harmful UVA & UVB rays. They are, in fact, capable of dropping the surface skin temperature by at least 5 degrees. Due to their soft sheen, anti-static and washable qualities, they are gradually becoming a choice of fabric for babies & infant wear. Ceramic yarns are also fast becoming popular for knitting projects due to their same properties of being cool, soft and silky apart from UVA & UVB rays protective.