4 advantages of using microporous insulation
In order to meet changing customer needs and rising demand for more choice, faster turnaround and better quality, many industries need to constantly look to innovative ways to increase efficiency. For many in manufacturing and similar industries, having effective high temperature thermal insulation for equipment and machinery is key to achieving this. A (relatively) recent innovation in high temperature insulation is microporous technology.
What is microporous insulation?
Microporous high temperature insulation is made up of tiny particles of dispersed silica creating micro-pores with diameters of less than 2nm (nanometres). These incredibly small pores restrict the thermal pathways in the material by increasing the length of the conduction paths, slowing the rate at which heat can flow through the material via conduction.
Now that we’re clear on what exactly microporous insulation is, let’s have a look at some of the advantages of using microporous insulation.
Low thermal conductivity
Mica-based microporous insulation such as Elmtherm achieves incredibly low thermal conductivity when compared to other insulation materials, and maintains its insulation properties at very high temperatures before breaking down.
|Material||Thermal conductivity at 800°C|
|Fibre board||0.1 Wm/|
|Calcium silica board||0.1 Wm/K|
|Elmtherm 1000S (silica microporous)||0.036 Wm/K|
This means that mica-based microporous insulation is ideal in situations where high temperatures are reached, but there is a need to retain as much heat as possible. For that reason, this type of insulation is commonly used in foundry applications – furnaces, kilns, tundishes, etc. The low thermal conductivity enables the foundry to operate more efficiently and consequently deliver energy savings. In melting furnaces, for example microporous insulation reduces heat loss by up to 30%. Find out more in our microporous insulation case study.
High thermal stability
Hand-in-hand with low thermal conductivity comes high thermal stability. Microporous insulation can withstand incredibly high temperatures without breaking down. Our Elmtherm solution can withstand up to 1000°C, again making it ideal for high temperature applications such as ladles. By allowing the ladles to hold molten metal at higher temperatures, this increases the capacity by as much as 10%, increasing furnace productivity.
Microporous insulation is incredibly lightweight, easy to handle and therefore easy to install. This can be very useful, particularly in the foundry and steel industry, in reducing downtime caused by having to perform maintenance on the furnace and replace the lining. Mica-based microporous insulation is also easy to cut and shape, meaning that it can be easily adapted to more a wide variety of applications and bespoke specifications.
Many types of microporous insulation, and Elmtherm specifically, do not contain any organic binders, meaning that they do not emit hazardous casting fumes or fine particles. It also does not emit harmful respirable fibres, unlike other insulation materials such as asbestos or fibreglass. In addition, microporous insulation is non-flammable, making it safer to use in incredibly high temperature applications.
Elmelin specialise in producing highly effective microporous insulation products for a variety of industries including foundry, petrochemical, tooling, and more. If you’d like to talk to us about how we could help solve your insulation challenge, get in touch.