The advantages of using mica in foundry

The advantages of using mica in foundry

At the extreme operating temperatures in the foundry industry, it’s vital that the right insulation and the right insulation material be used to ensure an adequate level of safety, consistency and efficiency. We have been working closely with the foundry industry for many years – and as such have developed a number of highly effective mica-based insulation solutions that can help to increase safety, reduce maintenance costs and increase efficiency by significantly reducing heat loss.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why mica insulation is advantageous in a variety of applications in the foundry industry.

Case study: Providing energy savings for an alumina production facility

Case study: Providing energy savings for an alumina production facility

The customer

Our customer is one of the largest integrated producers of alumina and aluminium in Asia, and ranks in the top five aluminium producers in the world. Their low cost but high-quality solutions are used in a wide variety of industries, including automotive, building and construction, defence, electricals, pharmaceuticals and white goods. Their 1182 acre alumina plant, established in 1969, comprises three rotary kilns, two with 3.05m diameter and one with 1.98m.

How mica insulation can help improve safety

How mica insulation can help improve safety

Mica’s unique thermal, electrical and physical properties make it ideal for use as an insulation solution in a number of applications. Mica-based insulation can withstand up to 1000°C, and 2000 volts before breaking down, meaning it can offer vital protection in high temperature and high voltage situations. It’s also durable, lightweight and absorbs little to no moisture, meaning that it doesn’t compromise the design or performance of the system it’s implemented in and is largely unaffected by the elements.

Mica’s use in consumer appliances

Mica’s use in consumer appliances

We produce mica-based insulation solutions for everything from aeroplane components to massive induction furnaces. Mica’s superior properties as a thermal and electrical insulator make it ideal for these large-scale industrial applications. But it’s also incredibly versatile, easy to cut, shape and mass produce to be used in appliances and devices we use everyday. 

Let’s take a look at how mica is used as insulation in consumer appliances, and why it’s an ideal choice.

Dielectrics and capacitors – what you need to know

Dielectrics and capacitors – what you need to know

Capacitors have an important role and function in a wide variety of applications. They are devices for storing electrical energy – preventing damage, information loss and filtering out unwanted frequencies. They are used in everything from microelectronic circuits to massive power systems.

An important feature of most capacitors is their dielectric component. Most capacitors have a dielectric spacer – a sheet of dielectric material between the two conducting plates, increasing its capacitance and improving the stability of the system.

Mica insulation properties vs other common insulation materials

Mica insulation properties vs other common insulation materials

At Elmelin, we have been working with mica as our chosen insulation solution for over 100 years. For us, the benefits of using mica as an insulator are very clear. But obviously, it’s not the only material out there with thermal and electrical insulative properties that is widely used for industrial insulation applications.

With that in mind, we’re going to compare mica-based insulation with 3 other common insulation materials in order to give you a clear view of its performance against the alternatives.

What is muscovite mica and what is it used for?

What is muscovite mica and what is it used for?

As you’re no doubt aware – insulation can be made of a whole host of other materials – fibreglass, cellulose, mineral wool. That being said, mica has very unique properties that make it an excellent choice as a basis for insulation in a range of industrial applications.

Here we’re going to look at a particular form of mica – muscovite mica – its properties and how it’s used by the industry and by Elmelin to make a variety of processes safer and more efficient.

Asbestos Alternatives

Asbestos Alternatives

Fire protection is an inherent requirement in many industries, and it is essential for the safety of buildings. For most of the twentieth century, a major solution to fire protection and safety was asbestos. Asbestos was very much seen as a wonder mineral. Unfortunately, while this material can offer heat resistance up to 800°C, it is also potentially lethal to humans. But asbestos alternatives exist.

Consequently, the same industries, and more, which were once dependent on asbestos for fire protection and fire resistance are now having to find safe asbestos alternatives.

As specialists in fire protection, Elmelin provides specialist alternatives to asbestos, using products based on mica and microporous technology.

Why Asbestos is Lethal

HSE points out that asbestos kills around 5,000 workers each year in the UK. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed or damaged, they release fibres into the air. If inhaled, these fibres can cause diseases which can be fatal.

image of newspaper article talking about asbestos for blog by Elmelin

The effects are not immediate, as these diseases take time to develop. However, once they are diagnosed, it is usually too late to do anything about them.

The diseases that asbestos can cause are:

Mesothelioma – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is almost always fatal

Asbestosis – a scarring condition of the lung, which causes shortness of breath and can be life-threatening

Asbestos-related lung cancer – the same as lung cancer caused by smoking

Pleural thickening – the lining of the lung swells and thickens, usually occurring following heavy asbestos exposure.

The problem is that asbestos is found in a great many places, including industrial, commercial and residential properties. It has been commonly used as an insulating material, has also been included in the manufacture of ceiling tiles, textured coatings, corrugated cement sheets, floor tiles and pipework. Asbestos is also sometimes present in brake pads, gaskets, electrical wire insulation and furnaces.

Asbestos is versatile, which has contributed to its widespread use. While its raw fibres are silk-like in their softness, manufacturing processes can also produce asbestos that is rock-solid.

Anyone working with asbestos should take the necessary precaution to protect themselves, but the best precaution of all is to find a safe asbestos alternative.

Asbestos Alternatives

Various new technologies have emerged in the wake of the growing awareness of the risks associated with asbestos. These include: polyurethane foams; flour fillers; thermoset plastic flour; cellulose fibres; and amorphous silica fabrics.

Asbestos itself had so much of a universal application that it has proved impossible to find a single substitute. However, some asbestos alternatives are more versatile than others.

image of asbestos for blog by elmelin on asbestos alternatives

One solution for high temperature insulation that, like asbestos, is mineral-based and has a wide variety of uses, is mica. Unlike asbestos, mica is safe.

Mica is a rock-forming silicate material and used with microporous technology, it provides a broad range of insulation and fire protection solutions across many different sectors and industries.

Like asbestos before it, mica can be used in various densities, from thin but durable sheets to cut shapes for tooling applications and manufactured components.

High Temperature Insulation

Microporous materials containing mica are effective in high temperature insulation for different industries, including foundry and steel, continuous processing and transport.

Here, there is an ongoing requirement for heat resistant materials for insulation and specialist functions such as heat shields. Mica and microporous insulation materials offer all the benefits of asbestos with none of the risks.

Fire safety in industry cuts across sectors, and requires solutions that are highly functional and adaptable.

In many instances, people will come into close contact with high temperature insulation materials as part of their daily working lives, so providing a safe but technically viable asbestos alternative is a fundamental requirement for safety in the workplace.

Fire Protection

Traditionally, asbestos has been widely used in construction as an essential component in ensuring building have the right degree of fire protection.

This has, in effect, turned asbestos into a hidden threat, with it being used in so many different construction materials.

image of fire protection for blog by Elmelin on asbestos alternatives

One aspect of fire safety in buildings is passive fire protection. This involves measures designed to contain a blaze and stop it from spreading throughout a structure.

Microporous technology now provides linings for fire doors and lift doors, to help with passive fire protection measures. These insulation boards are thin but hardwearing, and offer excellent resistance to fire and heat.

Fire safety is a continual requirement for a great many industries. These industries can no longer rely on asbestos as a solution. What they can do, however, is explore the versatility of mica, mica-based products and microporous technology as contemporary solutions to fire protection, insulation and fire safety.

Are You Looking for Asbestos Alternatives?

Elmelin specialises in providing manufactured solutions for  high temperature insulation, thermal control, heat resistance and fire protection. We provide both off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions, depending on your needs.

Please call us on +44 20 8520 2248, email sales@elmelin.com, or complete our online enquiry form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Mica in Sheets: Phlogopite Mica vs Muscovite Mica

Mica in Sheets: Phlogopite Mica vs Muscovite Mica

Mica is a naturally occurring mineral and there are 37 varieties. However, the two we work with are phlogopite, or green, and muscovite, or white, mica.

These two forms of mica come in sheet form, in two grades, MFSSP (phlogopite) and MFSSM (muscovite). Each of these two forms of mica has qualities that make it suitable for different applications, used by a broad range of industries.

Our phlogopite and muscovite mica sheets are available in flexible or rigid grades, depending on their required use.