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.
Meeting the standards
There are strict regulations and safety standards applied to consumer appliances and electronics. Failure to meet these standards and comply with regulations could cost manufacturers hundreds of thousands or even millions in fines and reparations.
This means that careful consideration must be given as to how an appliance’s internal and external thermal and electrical components are insulated and therefore made safe for extended consumer use. In addition, choosing the right insulation material can improve the efficiency of the appliance and extend its useful life.
Mica has a number of unique properties which make it ideal for both electrical and thermal insulation in a variety of consumer appliances:
- Exceptional electrical resistance – can withstand up to 2000V before breaking down
- Dielectric – can store electrical energy or allow selective frequencies to pass through it
- Rapid heat transfer
- Thermal resistance – pure phlogopite mica can withstand up to 1000C
- Easy to cut and shape making it highly suitable for mass production
Mica is often used to provide insulation for ovens and microwaves. It’s superior thermal properties make it incredibly effective at retaining heat and reducing heat loss. Pure phlogopite mica can withstand up to 1000C – far higher than any domestic oven or microwave is ever going to reach.
Mica sheets are commonly used as covers for microwave waveguides. A waveguide transfers power from the magnetron, where the waves are formed, to the cooking chamber. The mica sheet prevents food and contaminants from reaching the electrical components – but as mica is a dielectric, it allows the microwaves through to heat the food. And because mica can be produced in incredibly thin sheets, it ensures that the appliance doesn’t become too bulky or heavy.
Micathermic heaters are a type of space heater with a heating element covered in thin sheets of mica. These panels produce both convection and radiant heat. As mentioned above, mica is ideal for use in heaters and heating elements because of its thermally resistant and non-flammable qualities. It also retains heat very well, meaning that mica heaters are efficient as well as safe.
Capacitors are ubiquitous in electronic devices – so any household appliance that plugs into the mains (that’s most of them) – will have a capacitor in it. Mica is often used as the dielectric in a capacitor – a sheet between the charged plates which both prevents the plates from coming into electrical contact, and also improves the capacitance of the system. Mica has a dielectric strength of around 2000V/mm, and also has a relative permittivity of 2.5-7F/m, making it an ideal dielectric material for use in capacitors.
Elmelin have been developing and manufacturing mica-based insulation solutions for over 100 years. We’ve invested heavily in growing our capabilities around CNC milling – meaning we are able to design, cut and mass-produce shaped mica insulation to bespoke customer specifications.
We often work closely with customers’ research and development departments to create innovative solutions to insulation challenges. Everything we do is supported by our focus on quality, ensuring we can help you meet your high standards of quality in production.
If you’d like to discuss how Elmelin could help you with mica-based insulation solutions for consumer appliances – get in touch.