Basics of Ceramic Infrared Heaters
Most ceramic heaters consist of Nichrome (NiCr) that are contained within other insulating materials like silicone, mica or magnesium oxide. These materials serve as electrical insulators and also poor conductors of heat.
Ceramic infrared heaters come in several shapes and sizes depending on their specific applications. They are manufactured in several depending on the temperature range of operation, while some heaters change color when they are hot. This is to identify any failure in electrical equipment when part of an operational system.
Infrared emitters are proven heating for all heating purposes. Ceramic infrared heaters come in multiple designs and power levels and are customized based on specific tasks.
At operating temperatures, ceramic IR emitters produce wavelengths between 3-6 microns and usually have a glazed surface to protect against wear and tear due to oxidation and corrosion. Ceramic infrared heaters typically need around 10-15 minutes to reach full operating temperature.
Infrared heaters are classified based on the wavelength that they operate in such as short, medium and long-wave heaters. Short-wave infrared heaters produce a wavelength less than 1.5 microns, while long-wave infrared heaters emit wavelengths higher than 3 microns. Medium-wave infrared heaters typically emit wavelengths between 1.5-3 microns.
As a thumb rule, the higher the temperature of the infrared heater, the lesser the radiation wavelength. A thermocouple can be cast directly into the ceramic. They come in different shapes. A flat surface spreads the infrared energy over a wider area, whereas a concave surface is used when the energy has to be pinpointed on a specific spot.
Since ceramic infrared heaters radiate over a wide wavelength range, it does not require the material to have the same maximum absorption capability as the heater. The material that the heater is used to heat may absorb energy at 3 or 6 microns. But it is more critical to ensure that the material that has to be heated has favorable absorption properties. This is why infrared emitters meet several requirements in many industrial and domestic practical applications.
Applications of Ceramic Infrared Heaters
Many industrial production, refining and handling processes require drying tasks which usually involve infrared emitters. Some of the most common applications of infrared emitters are:
- To heat laminated products
- To heat plastic sheets as part of thermoforming processes
- In the manufacturing of shrinking sheets
- To bake powder coatings
- To temper glass
- To dry emulsions
- To stabilize fabrics that contain thermoplastic fiber such as nylon
- To mold PVC coats on fabrics
- To sterilize food (mainly in the packaged food industry)
- To strengthen injection moldings
- To provide medical radiation for therapeutic purposes
- To catalyze chemical reactions
- To heat food
- To preheat plastic pipes before molding them
- To dry wearable fabric after it’s been dyed and washed
- To bake fluidized bed coatings in chemical reactors
- To dry furniture where the wooden pieces are glued together
- To heat paper mache
- To cure epoxy resins
- To dry and bake metal sheets
- To solder printed circuit boards
- To preheat weld seams in pipe construction
Nexthermal is the exclusive supplier of ceramic heaters and emitters in North America. The range of products are a favorite with Nexthermal engineers due to their unparalleled attributes, longevity, cost-effectiveness and operational capabilities. These features have ensured optimum performance that have enamored customers for decades.