How mica insulation can help improve safety
The right insulation solution can help to increase efficiency, extend the useful life of the system or equipment, and help to reduce maintenance costs. Perhaps most importantly, having the right insulation solution can ensure the safety of anyone operating the equipment – protecting them from high voltages and/or high temperatures. 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. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how insulation can help to improve safety in a number of applications.
Mica-based insulation for furnace safety
Industrial furnaces are consistently operating at incredibly high temperatures. Implementing the right insulation to improve safety will protect those working with and around the furnace.
In coreless induction furnaces, there is a significant risk that the metal will penetrate the coil as the crucible lining begins to wear thin. This can lead to the furnace rupturing, or in some cases, exploding. To try and mitigate this risk, many furnaces have an earth leakage detector, but there are additional ways to shore up this process using insulation.
Our solution combines a layer of phlogopite mica with a layer of non-magnetic, stainless steel mesh in a flexible laminate sheet, which connects to the earth leakage detector to provide an early warning system for a breach in the furnace lining. Additionally, Vapourshield, another Elmelin mica-based laminate, can help to detect and in some cases prevent metal vapours and scrap reaching the core.
Thermal barriers for automotive batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are high density batteries – making them ideal for powering large systems, namely electric vehicles. Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries are prone to – an unstoppable chain reaction which occurs when there is a temperature rise in the battery, leading to fire and sometimes explosion. This is obviously potentially incredibly dangerous when it comes to use in passenger vehicles.
Rigid sheet mica and mica laminates can be used to create barriers between the battery cells in an EV battery pack, as well as insulate the pack from the rest of the vehicle. In the event that thermal runaway occurs, the barriers can help to slow down the process, giving
the driver and any passengers more time to reach safety. Thermal runaway cannot be completely prevented or stopped once the process has started, but implementing the right insulation solution can help to buy the occupants more time which could potentially save lives.
Consumer appliance insulation
Used in a range of our products, mica-based insulation improves the safety of the user. Appliances must meet strict industry safety standards in order for them to be suitable for mass production and use, so ensuring the right insulation solution is in place is a vital part of the manufacturing process.
Mica insulation is used in hair dryers, microwaves, toasters, and ovens in order to prevent loss of heat and also protect the user from high temperatures and high voltages. Mica is also commonly used in capacitors – as a dielectric, it both increases the overall capacitance of the system as well stopping the two charged plates from coming into electrical contact – which could cause a potential safety issue if the system short-circuited.
Elmelin have been producing mica-based insulation solutions for over 100 years. We work with a variety of industries to provide insulation that improves the safety of their products and equipment. If you’d like to discuss your insulation challenge, get in touch to speak with one of our experts now.