Metal Alloys Used in Immersion Heaters for Industrial Applications

The “magic” behind immersion heaters lies in their metals. In other words, their ability to keep various fluids and substances warm depends on the metals they’re made out of. This post will examine how different metals give immersion heaters their “powers”. 

Copper in Immersion Heaters

Copper, being a non-ferrous metal, has high corrosion resistance. This makes a copper-based immersion heater ideal for handling fluids that are acidic, reactive or otherwise corrosive. 

Of course, some solutions can still damage copper, so using it for some compounds wouldn’t be feasible. With that said, copper immersion heaters can work for hot water storage, water heaters and freeze protection. 

Steel in Immersion Heaters

Steel is one of the most abundantly sourced metals for immersion heater sheaths and flanges. The main benefit of steel is its ability to withstand very high temperatures. Additionally, the use of steel is ideal for certain applications such as those involving oil and gas operations. Lastly, steel is cost-effective, making it a go-to choice for many corporations. 

However, steel has a reduced tolerance for corrosion. That’s why using steel-based immersion heaters for corrosive fluids and gases is not advisable. The damage that ensues from such exposure could lead to premature wear and tear and failure of the equipment. 

Stainless Steel in Immersion Heaters

Stainless steel provides a high degree of strength and durability since it contains some iron. It carries an advantage over regular steel because it can withstand far more corrosion. 

That’s why stainless steel is ideal for handling corrosive solutions and fluids, as well as demineralized or deionized water. The trade-off is that stainless steel in immersion heaters costs more than regular steel. 

Incoloy in Immersion Heaters

A set of silver tubular heating elementsProduced by the Special Metals Cooperation (SMC), incoloy refers to a wide range of trademarked superalloys. Most of these metals are chromium or nickel-based. The advantage that incoloy has over other metals is that they can withstand extreme conditions, whether that is intense heat or corrosivity. 

For that reason, incoloy in immersion heaters is best reserved for applications. They include the likes of highly acidic and corrosive fluids and demineralized water.  

Titanium in Immersion Heaters

Titanium is also ideal for heavy-duty industrial heating applications. It can withstand immense loads and stress, not to mention, extreme temperatures, and highly corrosive substances. 

Titanium-based immersion heaters can handle similar substances as incoloy, making them another option for businesses. Of course, titanium is a high-grade metal and thus comes with a more expensive price tag. 

Choosing the Right Metal for Immersion Heaters

Deciding which type of immersion heater you need will ultimately depend on the application. The general rule of thumb is that more extreme conditions require more durable and corrosion-resistant materials. 

For less intensive applications, the deciding factor may very well boil down to cost. For some businesses, the choice may come down to maintenance. Nevertheless, as long as you install an immersion heater that can withstand your unique applications, you can rely on it to serve your operations for the long-term. 

Here at Wattco, our team of engineers and specialists have built immersion heaters that can withstand various environments and conditions. Get in touch with us so we can help you find the right type of immersion heater for your business.