There are many different heat-resistant materials available, and choosing the best generally depends on the specific application. Standard considerations when choosing the best heat-resistant materials often depend on the source and intensity of the heat. Resistant metals, fabric, board, rubber and plastics all have a certain range of temperatures they are designed to endure. Each of these materials may be best in certain situations and not as efficient in others.
In general, most heat-resistant materials can withstand a certain range of heat before breaking down, oxidizing or burning. The best heat-resistant materials will be suited for the specific needs of an application. Metals generally have a high tolerance for heat, for instance, while most plastics are easily melted or otherwise altered at much lower temperatures. Duration also matters, and permanent structures will often use more heat-resistant materials than temporary ones.
Heat-resistant metals are typically used in high-heat situations because most metals have high melting points. Forges, for instance, often use metals that can withstand temperatures higher than those being used to melt forged materials. In buildings, heat-resistant metals might be used to protect structural elements in case of a fire. Many metals can withstand open flames, as well, which often makes them ideal for the construction of flues and furnaces.
When more flexibility is required, heat-resistant fabric may be the best material. There are many fabrics that can resist heat, and many of them are designed for specific temperature ranges. For instance, firefighters often wear special heat-resistant materials to protect themselves from high temperatures and direct flames. Heat-resistant fabric also might be used to create fire blankets or provide a level of protection between welding equipment and nearby flammable materials.
In some cases, heat-resistant board might be best compared to other materials. For example, heat-resistant board might be needed to surround an oven where metal or other materials could actually increase the threat of unchecked temperatures. Heat-resistant board can be made using many different materials, including gypsum and asbestos, to withstand many different ranges of heat.
Sometimes, the best heat-resistant materials might be made of rubber or plastic. The relatively low melting and combustion points of these materials makes it so that heat-resistant rubber and heat-resistant plastic are often used in lower-temperature situations. For instance, heat-resistant rubber gloves might be enough to withstand high-temperature water but not direct contact with heating elements.