3 uses of mica tube for electrical insulation
Mica is incredibly versatile, with the potential to be applied to many different products and solutions. From large-scale furnaces, to handheld consumer appliances, mica can be moulded and processed into various shapes and sizes. It is a naturally occurring silica-based mineral and due its unique chemical composition and physical properties, it is often used as an electrical and thermal insulator. Mica’s dielectric and thermal resistance properties make it an excellent choice for industrial insulation, yet it is the smooth surface layers that form the mineral which make it so versatile. The smooth surfaces are formed when mica splits along crystalline planes, which results in perfect basal cleavage. Because of this, the mica is flexible and can be shaped into a variety of products including sheets, rolls and tubes. Here we focus on mica tube insulation, specifically electric insulation.
What are mica tubes?
Elmelin produce rigid mica tubes, named Elmtube. They are manufactured from muscovite and phlogopite, with muscotivite grade being MPSB-M and phlogopite being MPSB-P. The muscovite grade has a white colouration while phlogopite grade is green. These mica tubes provide outstanding electric insulation, as well as wielding micas’ high heat resistance properties.
The bonding process used to manufacture mica tubes ensures they have outstanding insulation capabilities. This process is done by using mica and bonding it with a separate resin-based substance, silicone.
The mica tubes themselves are lightweight (2-2.4to per m³), helping logistically with transportation as well as functionally during installation and use. That being said, they retain their durability, combining electrical and mechanical strength. Therefore mica tubes are rigid, yet adaptable.
They are available in a range of lengths, diameters, and thickness. In terms of size, they can be individually produced to specification, making them incredibly useful for a variety of applications, including electric arc furnaces, tooling and electrical appliances.
Mica tubes for electric arc furnaces
Steel manufacturing is a hugely important industry that produces and supplies the necessary material for thousands of businesses. Electric arc furnaces manufacture steel from entirely scrap metal, as opposed to blast furnaces producing steel directly from ores.
By using an electric arc, these furnaces can heat charge materials like scrap metal. Using a three-way electrical supply, a current passes through a charge and radiant energy is released from the arc. The temperature of this arc can reach up to 3000°C, therefore requiring suitably resistant insulating materials to ensure a constant regulated system.
Mica tube insulation is used in electric arc furnaces in order to help them maintain a safe temperature that allows for consistent melting operations to be carried out. The outstanding thermal and electrical resistance that mica tube insulation offers make it ideal for protecting the various components exposed to extreme temperatures. Mica tubes are used for insulating the mast arms, electrode arms and pivot tubes with the electric arc furnace.
Mica tubes for electric components
The electronics industry requires high quality insulation in order to improve longevity and efficiency of components. The technology and devices produced are continuously evolving and becoming more streamlined, as demands grow larger and new shifts toward sustainability become increasingly important. In power electronics for example, the safety, performance and reliability of electronics can be supported by insulation which helps to manage the high-voltages that power electronics are exposed to. Their durability is directly related to the suitability of the insulation solutions and materials being used.
The high dielectric strength of mica means that mica tubes used can withstand powerful electric fields, and resist temperatures up to 650°C. Mica tubes are suitable for electric components due to their versatility and previously mentioned properties. They are perfect for capacitors and resistors found in electrical circuits, which require high precision and stability. Mica can withstand up to 1000V/mm, so it can therefore be used in high-voltage applications safely and reliably. Mica tube insulation is also suitable for defence electronics, time-constant circuits and broadcast transmitters.
Mica tubes for tooling equipment
Specialist tooling is required in a vast range of industries, and it is essential for the smooth operation and production in manufacturing. Day-to-day working and use of these tools means that they require long-term safety, reliability and performance. Mica tubes are used in heat guns, which can reach temperatures up to 648°C. These therefore need high temperature insulation, which mica can offer.
Heat guns are commonly used in manufacturing, engineering and workshop settings, often being key pieces of equipment. Mica tubes help insulate the heating elements, enclosing around the elements themselves and creating a confined space for concentrated heat. Enclosed mica tubes within the heat guns help to provide a uniform heat distribution, improving their performance.
Mica-based solutions are excellent for electrical insulation. The chemical composition and physical properties of mica makes it perfectly suited. These days, electrical insulation is required everywhere, in a vast range of applications, from small handheld appliances to large-scale power systems. Elmelin have decades of industry experience and are experts in the production and supply of mica-based insulation solutions.
Mica tubes are just one example of our multiple products using mica as an insulation solution. There are many options available for each one, and they can be produced specifically for your individual requirements.
Elmelin offer multiple mica-based products and solutions, for a range of industries. Whether it’s helping to achieve the 2050 net zero target, or improving battery energy storage safety in electric vehicles, mica-based insulation can be implemented.
Get in touch here to find out more about the solutions Elmelin offer.