There are many different types of electric heaters available, some of which have broader applications and others that have very specific applications. Electric heating can be simply defined as any process in which electrical energy is converted to heat. The broad categories of electric heaters that we will be exploring include flanged heaters, immersion heaters and circulation heaters.
A flange heater, therefore, is characterized as such by having one or more flanges, or rims that extend down into the item you are seeking to heat. They can often appear to be like a stick or bundle of sticks that extend down from the connection point. Or, they can appear as a “U” stretched vertically, which is an excellent design as it significantly increases the surface space for the electrical heat to be applied to the substance.
One very common disadvantage of an immersion heater specifically seen when heating water is that the water that passes near the electric element gets so hot that it actually forms a scale buildup in areas with hard water. Over time, this scale builds up in the tank, leading to a less efficient heating system.
It should be noted too that one of the most common types of flange heaters is an immersion flange heater. This type of heater combines the two greatest strengths, which is the increased heating surface of the flange combined with the fast heating properties of an immersion heater since it is immersed within the product it seeks to heat.
The main advantage of a circulation heater is that the heat loss during the process is extremely minimal since the system is closed, making it a highly efficient process. It is also a more exact heating process because of the way the system works, which can be critical with certain types of liquids and gasses.
Top end circulation heaters are often found housed within a well built and well insulated steel tank or vessel. The degree to which the space between the tubes is insulated determines the heat transfer rate, which is to say that the level of insulation minimizes heat loss and really determines the efficiency of the heater overall.
Along the same lines, these types of electric heaters can be utilized in aircraft propellers to prevent freezing. Having ice build up on a plane’s propellers is a huge risk that can be easily be avoided and addressed using a small electric heater.
Specific to the petrochemical industry, one method of removing sand particles from crude oil can be made more efficient with the use of electric heating. In another similar application, a copper powder is used as a conducting medium for the electric heater in removing sand from heavy oil on site for offshore platforms.
Stainless steel is a growing trend in the industry as well and has its own series of appropriate applications. As seen in industrial kitchens, stainless steel is most commonly used in applications that affect or support the food service industry. Stainless steel is also a great material to be used in situations where the contents of the element will be housing mildly to severely corrosive fluids and gasses.
Selecting the appropriate heater for the specific application is of absolute importance and really relies on the requirements of the application before you begin to consider heaters. Because electric heaters can be used in applications and solutions as basic as water or soap storage all the way to heating volatile liquids and corrosive solution as well as superheating steam, the criticality of knowing exactly what is needed from the product before selecting one can’t be stated strongly enough.
In these situations, having the ability to regulate a very precise temperature and heat distribution is critical and with electric heating elements, attainable. The electric heating processes used in each type of element is considered to be a clean for of heat, is very quiet and does not radiate heat byproduct into the surroundings. As is needed in many industrial or commercial applications, electrical heating elements are highly responsive and can therefore, contribute well to mass production equipment and situations.
When considering electric heating elements, conduct ample research to ensure that you have chosen the right product for your specific application. This additional time and attention can be what helps you to find the most appropriate, safe, and cost effective as well as energy efficient product to fit your needs.
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