Different Materials Used for Electrical Enclosures: Metallic and Non-metallic

An electrical enclosure is a cabinet or housing of electrical or electronic equipment. It is mainly used to mount switches and knobs, protect the equipment from the external environment, and prevent the users from electric shock or propagation of an explosion. Electrical enclosures are used in various fields especially for electrical equipment in hazardous areas such as coal mines and petrochemical plants. They are not only designed for practical requirements but also for its attractive aesthetics. Electrical enclosures are made from both metallic and non-metallic materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, and rigid plastics.

Materials for Electrical Enclosure

Stainless Steel: This material is used for making electrical enclosure due to their high durability resistance to corrosion, moisture, and chemicals. Type 304 stainless steel and type 316 stainless steel are two of the common materials for electrical enclosures. They are best suited for electric enclosures in pharma, medical, and food industry applications. Type 304 is resistant to oxidation and protect from acids, alkalis, and corrosive solutions. It is used for both outdoor and indoor applications. On the other hand, Type 316 provide better resistance against high temperature, special acids, sea water, sulfates, chlorine, and bromides. They are found in pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, and marine environment.

Carbon Steel: It is a cost-effective metallic material for electric enclosure. It is usually painted to produce durable and scratch resistant surface. Painted carbon steel has limited resistance to acids, alkalis, and solvent. It is mainly used in indoor applications which are non-corrosive and chemically stable.

Aluminum: It has relative strength and corrosive resistance. As aluminum has high malleable strength, electric enclosure material made from this material can withstand high impact of harsh environment. It also protects from radio frequency and electromagnetic frequency.

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Polycarbonate: This is a durable non-metallic material for electrical enclosures. It is formed from a thermoplastic polymer, non-magnetic, non-conductive, and light but strong. Polycarbonate electrical enclosure is ideal for housing sensitive equipment and electrical elements like switches and panels. Other applications of polycarbonate enclosures include geophysical sensing, temperature control monitoring, and volume/lighting controls.

Fiberglass: It has a significant resistance to corrosion and chemicals. Fiberglass electrical enclosure can used for both outdoor and indoor applications including high temperature and corrosive environment. It can also be installed in constantly wet environments. However, in non-metallic materials, polycarbonate have more weather resistant and longer product life than fiberglass enclosures.

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