Material Spotlight: Fishpaper & Vulcanized Fibre

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Even though electricity is one of the breakthrough technologies that are most frequently utilized and relied upon, it is also one of the most hazardous when mishandled or when its uses are misunderstood. Therefore, electrical insulation has to play its role. Non-metallic materials — such as plastic, rubber, or PVC — are frequently used to create insulation. These materials are designed to limit the current flow between conductors.

Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre sheets are multi-functional engineering materials used in various mechanical and electrical applications, particularly electrical insulation. Although they may appear similar to one another, they have characteristic differences. Mechanically, these materials do not share the same tensile strength and tensile modulus, and their electrical properties — such as dielectric strength and arc resistance — also differ.

Let’s define what these two materials are.

Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre

The term “fishpaper” refers to electrical-grade vulcanized fibre sheets in general. It is a vulcanized cotton electrical insulation board or paper easily cut and shaped to insulate electric motors, generators, and transformers. This material is also a good choice for oil-filled transformers.

On the other hand, a vulcanized fibre is a chemically natural cellulose material that is free of adhesives and resins, making it environmentally friendly. It is a low-pressure laminate created by the reaction of cotton or natural wood with various chemicals such as acids, bases, and zinc chloride. Aside from that, vulcanized fibre sheets can be formed, slit, molded, or wound into tubes for use in various applications.

Vulcanized fibre can also be used for including washers, insulating plates, switch and appliance insulation, electric motor insulation, gaskets, automobile parts, luggage, patterns, and more.

Advantages of Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre

The following are the advantages of using fishpaper and vulcanized fibre:

  • Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre have excellent dielectric properties and are suitable for oil-filled inductors.
  • Mechanical strength. Because it is fibrous, fishpaper electrical insulation has high mechanical strength.
  • Heat resistance. Cellulosic paper is more heat-resistant than many plastic materials because it is hard and wear-resistant.
  • At low temperatures, fishpaper and vulcanized fibre retain more flexibility than plastic materials.
  • Cost-effective. Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre are suitable for diverse general-purpose applications due to their size, versatility, and resistance to heat, chemicals, and tear,

Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre As Insulators

Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre sheets are effective electrical insulators for various reasons. One of those is that they are durable and flexible, with unique combinations of strength and formability. Fishpaper is also insoluble in common solvents like benzene, petroleum, alcohol, ammonia, turpentine, naphtha, and ether.

Furthermore, fishpaper has a very light property, weighing roughly half the weight of aluminum. As a result, it’s an excellent insulator for applications where weight reduction is essential for maintaining maximum product performance and optimizing fuel efficiency. Some types of fishpaper insulation and vulcanized fibre — such as those that comply with UL-94 and ASTM D-365 standards — are also used in components such as wear plates, arc chutes, and circuit breaker baffles.

In addition to being used as electrical insulators, here are some of the other applications of electrical-grade fishpaper insulation in the mechanical and electrical industries:

  • Electronic devices
  • Automotive parts and components
  • Circuit breakers
  • Electrical instruments
  • Gaskets
  • Fuse tubes
  • Railroad track installation

On the other hand, the following are the common applications of vulcanized fibre:

  • Washers
  • Insulating plates
  • Switch and appliance insulation
  • Electric motor
  • Automobile parts
  • Luggage
  • Gaskets

ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. Services

Using quality components for insulation ensures electrical safety and helps retain the integrity of various equipment and devices. Not only is insulation crucial in avoiding accidents and property destruction, but it also protects the value of your products by preventing electrical damage and prolonging the lifespan of various industrial and commercial goods and equipment.

ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. manufactures a diverse range of vulcanized fibre and fishpaper products to meet the specific needs of our customers. Our employees are trained for the job, whether prototyping an intricate part on our laser or running production quantities on our mechanical and hydraulic cutting presses. So if you need vulcanized fibre sheets and fishpaper insulation products, ESPE has one of the Midwest’s most extensive inventories!

To find a specific insulation product that works for you, you can view our catalog or contact us if you have any questions or inquiries.

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