Mica is a group of minerals that form in multiple tightly packed layers. This two-dimensional sheet structure is the reason for mica being known as silicate sheets. They are found in all three major rock varieties and have certain chemical properties which lends mica to being incredibly useful for industrial insulation.
Due to the layering of the minerals, mica is suited to being produced as mica papers which can be converted into sheets and flexible roll materials. Two of the key properties of mica rolls and mica sheets is the resistance to high temperatures and its inability to conduct electricity. Mica sheets and rolls use these properties, as well as its chemical resistance and durability, in order to work as a highly efficient insulating and reinforcing agent.
Mica can also be rigid or flexible, with flexible being used mainly for furnace insulation and automotive gasket application due to its fantastic electrical resistance under high temperatures. Rigid mica sheets are used for sheathing passive fire protection and dielectric barriers within multiple applications.
There are two types of mica mineral used by Elmelin, Muscovite and Phlogopite. Muscovite mica has a higher dielectric strength, therefore having greater insulating properties, while also being a very poor conductor of electrical currents. Because of this, muscovite is widely recognised as the best mica type for electrical applications and devices. As well as this, muscovite mica can be highly durable and both flexible or rigid depending on resin composition.
Phlogopite mica is similar to muscovite mica; it is more heat resistant than muscovite, and as well a poor electrical conductor and can be manufactured flexible or rigid depending on use. They are the only two mica minerals that are used commercially,
Here we discuss the major advantages of mica’s thermal, electrical and physical properties for industrial insulation.
We find ourselves in a global transition period that has long since been a major necessity for the natural world. The reliance on fossil fuels, while still apparent, is beginning to decline as the development and production of alternative fuels continues to increase. Technological advancements and years of research are allowing for positive change, as we aim to find suitable solutions to the global fossil fuel problem.
Years ago, sustainable fuels and alternative energy sources were rarely thought of as being realistic replacements for oil and gas. However, this is no longer the case and as the use of fossil fuels continues to have detrimental effects on the environment and planet as a whole, sustainable energy sources are becoming increasingly available for use on a global scale. Nuclear, wind, and solar power are the front runners in the race to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures in order to reach net zero.
Hydrogen fuel is a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as petroleum and diesel which is being developed for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Hydrogen fuel cells do not emit any greenhouse gases, only water, and the hydrogen itself can be produced using sustainable energy sources such as nuclear power, renewables and even biomass. Due to these qualities, hydrogen fuel unsurprisingly became an exciting prospect in the search for cleaner energy, but is it viable?
The world of motor vehicles is rapidly changing, as technologies continue to advance and research of safer, more efficient alternatives progresses. The number of electric vehicles on the road is increasing at significant rates, and this trend will continue to grow as traditional petrol-based vehicles are phased out in the run up to the ban of petrol and diesel cars that starts to roll-out globally from 2030.
Battery storage in electric vehicles is a major topic of discussion in the current climate; researchers are constantly discovering new ways of improving the efficiency of electric batteries. From vehicle performance to environmental implications, there are many aspects to consider when developing an electric vehicle battery (EVB).
For many years, lithium-ion batteries were the focus of manufacturers, however there has been a shift towards the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric vehicles instead. There are important differences between the two, with hydrogen fuel cells having a much greater weight ratio when compared to lithium-ion batteries (further details on the differences between lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells can be found here).
While electric vehicles help cut down on emissions, and begin to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, it’s worth noting that there are some battery storage safety implications of this relatively new technology, specifically in relation to the battery storage itself. Here we’ll discuss the vital safety considerations of battery storage in electric vehicles.
The path to net-zero is paved with new forms of energy generation. As a business, most of our portfolio of opportunities are in supporting companies find clean energy solutions for industrial and domestic applications to ensure their customers, our wider supply chains and society achieves its goal.
2050 is the magic year. A year that governments hope to proclaim, ‘we’re operating at net-zero carbon!’. Each member state of the Paris Agreement is creating and implementing various strategies to tackle some of the biggest contributors of emissions. Most of these contributors are in the transportation, agriculture, industry, or building sectors.
On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London, and rapidly spread up the building’s exterior due to the cladding, the external insulation and the air gap. There were 72 fatalities, many of which were children, and many others were injured, making it the deadliest structural fire in the UK since World War II.
A subsequent government enquiry determined that under the building regulations at that time, the disaster should not have happened and this resulted in changes to the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018, including an extension of the combustible materials ban.
On 26 November 2020 further changes to the Building Regulations: Fire safety – Approved Document B also came into effect as part of the on-going response to the Grenfell Tower fire. These changes mean that relevant buildings must comply with stricter standards. As a result, the construction industry and wider engineering industry have been looking at ways of resolving issues around fire protection of buildings, and greatly improving the techniques used to improve safety and avoid tragedies like Grenfell ever happening again.
Elmelin has been active in projects related to high heat applications since 1912, with a specialism in producing solutions that protect and extend the life of the lining of furnaces and kilns. It was natural sidestep for us to look at how our mica-based products could be used to benefit the construction industry.
For many years, the manufacturing industry has been discussing the skills shortage and the overall lack of new, young talent coming through. An issue widely debated across manufacturing and engineering sectors, businesses are clearly struggling to inform young people of the benefits and prospects related to a career in manufacturing and STEM.
Although we are faced with recruitment challenges due to a limited talent pool, not to mention the irregularity of the market fuelled by the pandemic, as a business, we are making great strides with our Internship and Apprenticeship program.
Following the latest global climate summit, COP26, many nations have pledged to conclude the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Some countries have committed to earlier deadlines; the UK, for instance, is working towards 2035, and Norway is even working towards 2025. Although this is a highly positive and ambitious target, we’re faced with several hurdles in the battery electric vehicle manufacturing supply chain.
As a naturally occurring mineral, Mica is a durable material that retains its form when exposed to high temperatures, electrical charges, and light and water. Due to its versatility and thermal resistance, it is used across various industries and in a range of products. In fact, almost every individual will use several products that contain Mica components before leaving the house in the morning.
We have spoken extensively about the properties of Mica, of which there are many! See our previous blog on‘The Benefits of Mica’. However, due to the growing demand for Mica across developing countries and increased demands from the electrical and automotive industry, we are concerned that global regulations on mining such material will not mirror the pace of change.
It’s well documented by now that fossil fuel vehicles are a significant contributor to carbon emissions – one passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. To save our planet, we have to explore alternatives, and make these alternatives the mainstream on roads in the next 20-30 years.
The main contenders as it stands are fuel cell vehicles and battery-operated electric vehicles – but how do they compare? …