Electrical Insulation

Question: I work with a consulting firm and I am doing research on finishes.

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I work with a consulting firm and I am doing research on finishes. I am trying to figure out if there any finishes that are used for insulation purposes. If so, then which markets are they used in and how are they used (for example, automotive for coating engine blocks or electronic for coating microprocessor chips). Any information regarding this topic would be helpful. Thanks. D.G.


You came to the right place. When I had a real job at the Westinghouse Research Labs, there were more than 100 people in the Insulation Department.

Without electrical insulation, the miracle of electrical power production transmission and distribution would be impossible and you would be reading Products Finishing by candlelight. Furthermore, the shirt you are wearing would have been hand washed and pressed using a flat iron on a coal stove. Enough of that already.

The subject of electrical insulation could fill a handbook and is well beyond the scope of this column. Organic coatings are used as electrical insulation in all industries. One such application is magnet wire coating. Magnet wire is used in motors, coils, relays, etc. Another application is conformal coatings for printed wiring boards. Printed wiring boards are used practically in everything you come in contact with in your daily life, from your cell phone to the elevator you take to the office. These coatings are also present in the machinery used to manufacture these industrial products.

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