When is a tile, not just something you see on floors / walls? When it’s made from LI-900, a type of reusable surface insulation tile developed and manufactured by Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California. It was designed for use on the Space Shuttle orbiter as part of its thermal protection system to minimize thermal conductivity while providing maximum thermal shock resistance. Continue reading to see what happens when people try to hold it straight from a 2200-degree oven.

LI-900 has a bulk density of 9 pounds per cubic foot (144.2 kg/m3). It was for this reason that it was called the LI-900. It is made from 99.9% pure silica glass fibres, and 94% by volume of air. An LI-900 tile can be heated to 2200 °F (about 1478 K or 1204 celsius) and then immediately plunged into cold water and suffer no damage.

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