A sheet metal shear or heavy-duty shearing knife is the best method of cutting mica plate to reduce edge-delamination. Tabletop paper cutters, heavy-duty scissors and tin snips work well on smaller pieces. Also, a fine tooth band saw can be used if both sides of the material are supported.
Mica plate is normally supplied milled (sanded) to reduce thickness variations. A clear coating is applied to the surface of the mica plate after milling. If you choose to apply any varnishes or adhesives, light sanding to smooth and prepare the surface is recommended. To adhere the plate to another surface, an epoxy-based adhesive is recommended.
If the product is exposed to direct sunlight, varnishes that are UV-light stabilized should be used to prevent yellowing. Exterior use requires additional protection from the elements. A heavy “bead” coating on cut edges is recommended to seal the edges and avoid capillary moisture absorption.
Molding mica plate requires that the material be heated to its moldable (flexible) state. Heating can be done on a hotplate, or in an oven at a temperature of approximately 250-300°F. Time needed is thirty seconds - 1 minute, or until the material is pliable.
Form or roll the mica plate into the desired shape immediately after removal from the heat source. Once the plate has cooled, it will retain its shape. If excess heat has not been applied the first time, additional heating will re-soften the plate, allowing more forming and fitting to the shape desired. Careful use of a heat gun can also heat the mica plate - or parts thereof – into the desired shape. Use of molds or forms to help shape the plate to the desired curvatures is recommended.
LIMITS OF USE:
Mica, constituting 80 - 90% of the plate, is inorganic in nature and stable at temperatures up to 1100°F. However, the flakes are bonded with organic resins that will burn, discolor, and embrittle with (add continuous) exposure to heat in the 300°F range