I am looking for some kind of hard (i.e. able to retain its own shape, not a soft foam or a glass wool type product), workable (with standard tools such as saw, chisel, plane), highly insulating material which will withstand a temperature of 500C. I have heard that there is a polyimide foam material that might do it, or it could be some kind of ceramic foam, or rockwool type material. I need to be able to buy it in small quantities.
The application is to make a device for soldering surface mount printed circuit boards. My idea is to buy a single ring electric hotplate, to put on top of it a 5mm thick piece of aluminium about 250mm square, to put the PCB on top of the aluminium, to cover it with a pyrex casserole lid, and to cover all exposed surfaces with a layer of the insulating material I'm looking for (glued on via some kind of high temperature adhesive), partly to avoid loss of heat, and partly for safety/comfort.
If you have any ideas at all for a material that might be suitable, please reply.
I was hoping for something with a firmer shape than glass fibre matting. So I can cut it to the required shape and size, and glue it in place, and it will then stay there. Yes, fireproof cement might to the job of attaching the material, but I haven't found anything suitable for the insulation itself yet.
Vitcas have recommended their vermiculite insulation board (see http://shop.vitcas.com/vermiculite-fire ... n-72-p.asp) which ticks most of the boxes, but it's not ideal. It is only available in 25mm thick sheet (I had been hoping for no more than half this thickness, which should be possible if the heat conductance is low enough). It is quite expensive (£35.99 inc VAT for a 400 x 600 x 25mm sheet). And it is fairly heavy (density about 0.83).
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