Cleveland Mica Puts Innovation Into The Manufacture Of Mica Components
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Chemically, micas can be given the general formula[6]

X2Y4–6Z8O20(OHF)4,

in which

X is KNa, or Ca or less commonly BaRb, or Cs;

Y is AlMg, or Fe or less commonly MnCrTiLi, etc.;

Z is chiefly Si or Al, but also may include Fe3+ or Ti.

Structurally, micas can be classed as dioctahedral (Y = 4) and trioctahedral (Y = 6). If the X ion is K or Na, the mica is a common mica, whereas if the X ion is Ca, the mica is classed as a brittle mica.

Sheet MICA

MICA Insulator Items

Silver MICA Capacitors

Muscovite Windows

Technical grade sheet mica is used in electrical components, electronics, in atomic force microscopy and as window sheets. Other uses include diaphragms for oxygen-breathing equipment, marker dials for navigation compasses, optical filterspyrometers, thermal regulators, stove and kerosene heater windows, radiation aperture covers for microwave ovens, and micathermic heater elements. Mica is birefringent and is therefore commonly used to make quarter and half wave plates. Specialized applications for sheet mica are found in aerospace components in air-, ground-, and sea-launched missile systems, laser devices, medical electronics and radar systems. Mica is mechanically stable in micrometer-thin sheets which are relatively transparent to radiation (such as alpha particles) while being impervious to most gases. It is therefore used as a window on radiation detectors such as Geiger-Müller tubes.

In 2008, mica splittings represented the largest part of the sheet mica industry in the United States. Consumption of muscovite and phlogopite splittings was about 308 t in 2008. Muscovite splittings from India accounted for essentially all US consumption. The remainder was primarily imported from Madagascar.[11]

Small squared pieces of sheet mica are also used in the traditional Japanese Kodo ceremony to burn incense: A burning piece of coal is placed inside a cone made of white ash. The sheet of mica is placed on top, acting as a separator between the heat source and the incense, in order to spread the fragrance without burning it.

Electrical and electronic

Sheet mica is used principally in the electronic and electrical industries. Its usefulness in these applications is derived from its unique electrical and thermal properties and its mechanical properties, which allow it to be cut, punched, stamped, and machined to close tolerances. Specifically, mica is unusual in that it is a good electrical insulator at the same time as being a good thermal conductor. The leading use of block mica is as an electrical insulator in electronic equipment. High-quality block mica is processed to line the gauge glasses of high-pressure steam boilers because of its flexibility, transparency, and resistance to heat and chemical attack. Only high-quality muscovite film mica, which is variously called India ruby mica or ruby muscovite mica, is used as a dielectric in capacitors. The highest quality mica film is used to manufacture capacitors for calibration standards. The next lower grade is used in transmitting capacitors. Receiving capacitors use a slightly lower grade of high-quality muscovite.[11]

Mica sheets are used to provide structure for heating wire (such as in Kanthal or Nichrome) in heating elements and can withstand up to 900 °C (1,650 °F).

Built-up mica

Muscovite and phlogopite splittings can be fabricated into various built-up mica products. Produced by mechanized or hand setting of overlapping splittings and alternate layers of binders and splittings, built-up mica is used primarily as an electrical insulation material. Mica insulation is used in high-temperature and fire-resistant power cables in aluminium plants, blast furnaces, critical wiring circuits (for example, defense systems, fire and security alarm systems, and surveillance systems), heaters and boilers, lumber kilns, metal smelters, and tanks and furnace wiring. Specific high-temperature mica-insulated wire and cable is rated to work for up to 15 minutes in molten aluminium, glass, and steel. Major products are bonding materials; flexible, heater, molding, and segment plates; mica paper; and tape.[11]

Flexible plate is used in electric motor and generator armatures, field coil insulation, and magnet and commutator core insulation. Mica consumption in flexible plate was about 21 tonnes in 2008 in the US. Heater plate is used where high-temperature insulation is required. Molding plate is sheet mica from which V-rings are cut and stamped for use in insulating the copper segments from the steel shaft ends of a commutator. Molding plate is also fabricated into tubes and rings for insulation in armatures, motor starters, and transformers. Segment plate acts as insulation between the copper commutator segments of direct-current universal motors and generators. Phlogopite built-up mica is preferred because it wears at the same rate as the copper segments. Although muscovite has a greater resistance to wear, it causes uneven ridges that may interfere with the operation of a motor or generator. Consumption of segment plate was about 149 t in 2008 in the US. Some types of built-up mica have the bonded splittings reinforced with cloth, glass, linenmuslin, plastic, silk, or special paper. These products are very flexible and are produced in wide, continuous sheets that are either shipped, rolled, or cut into ribbons or tapes, or trimmed to specified dimensions. Built-up mica products may also be corrugated or reinforced by multiple layering. In 2008, about 351 t of built-up mica was consumed in the US, mostly for molding plates (19%) and segment plates (42%).[11]