Materials for an Air Conditioning Duct

Without HVAC systems, houses and buildings would feel like frigid iceboxes or huge ovens depending on the season. The air conditioning ducts in HVAC systems work thanks in large part to the materials from which they are made. These materials have several properties that make them ideal for cooling.


An air conditioning duct is made from materials that are ideal for cooling.

Fiberglass is a very efficient insulator which makes it an ideal material for air conditioning ducts. The material is pressed into boards that can be cut and joined into a variety of shapes. Fiberglass is stable, but not as strong as steel, so it is not suited for use in air conditioning ducts that must withstand outdoor damage.

Galvanized Steel and Aluminum

Galvanized steel is the material that was used in the some of the earliest air conditioning systems and is the most commonly used material in air ducts. It is a very strong, conductive material that does not insulate well, but is excellent for cooling air. Steel is commonly used for exposed, outdoor air ducts and ducts in large buildings. Aluminum is another common material used in air conditioning ducts, usually in the tape and connecting parts of the duct.


Polyurethane is a type of high-strength, insulating plastic that is used in a variety of industrial, commercial and residential products, including air conditioning ducts. It is formed into panels, which are then shaped into ducts.

Other Materials

A few other materials are used commonly in air conducting ducts. Synthetic foams and plastic materials, such as phenolic foam and polyethylene terephthalate, are used to make extremely elastic, bendable ducts that can be placed in more intricate arrangements than steel and fiberglass ducts.

About the Author

Jeremy Cato is a writer from Atlanta who graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and an English degree from Morehouse College. An avid artist and hobbyist, he began professionally writing in 2011, specializing in crafts-related articles for various websites.