What is Fiberglass Insulation?

by Erik North on March 11, 2011

Fiberglass Insulation

 

What is fiberglass insulation and why does it have that pink color? When was fiberglass insulation first used and what is fiberglass insulation used for today (besides insulating presumably)?

What is Fiberglass Insulation – Your Boring Wiki-Style Answer

Fiberglass is a man-made material used in construction for thermal insulation and sound proofing. It is made of very thin glass fibers, which is lightweight, cost-effective, and practical option for both residential and commercial applications. Fiberglass insulation is usually packaged like rock wool in either rolls, loose fill or 8 foot batts.

What is Fiberglass Insulation – A Micro History

Though fiberglass has been used since the turn of the 20th century, the first fiberglass insulation was developed and available for sale in 1938. Fiberglass gained popularity when asbestos fell out of favor as evidence of increased cancer rates became more widely known. This forced contractors to abandon asbestos and find alternatives. With many of the same characteristics as asbestos, fiberglass was a natural option.

What is Fiberglass Insulation – Current Uses

Its relatively light weight, cheap cost and ease of use have made fiberglass the most commonly used insulation in modern construction. The millions of bound fibers that trap pockets of heat also make fiberglass insulation effective at reducing noise. Finally because it is made of glass, it doesn’t burn or absorb water. As manufacturers have become more aware of conservation, a larger percentage of new fiberglass is made using recycled glass.

Fun Fact

Very often fiberglass insulation is pink though this is not its natural color. Owens Corning dyes the insulation pink during the manufacturing process for marketing purposes. The softer pink compares favorably with buyer to a more natural white or light gray and ties in with the Pink Panther character.

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