Thermal heaters, also known as thermal fluid heaters, employ the use of a thermal liquid such as water, glycol, mineral oil, synthetic liquids or aromatics as the source of heat transfer. The medium for transferring heat is circulated within a closed loop system to supply heat to the end user. Many applications primarily use mineral oil as a heat transfer medium.
When it comes to selecting the best medium of heat transfer, a lot of factors are taken into account. For example, if the application requires a higher temperature range of up to 330 degrees Centigrade, a synthetic liquid would be preferred because of its thermal stability at high temperatures. On the other hand, mineral oil experiences about six times the rate of degradation if exposed to higher temperatures. In such situations, the life expectancy of the transfer medium is considered which is determined by the liquid’s thermal stability. However, the life expectancy of the medium is not always affected by its thermal stability; there can be multiple operating problems that can influence the life expectancy as well. More than often, the hardware and mechanical issues dictate the duration of stay of the liquid medium in the system.
When considering the mechanical aspects, mineral oils have the edge over synthetic fluids. And when mineral oils are used as the medium for transferring heat, they are called ‘thermal oil heaters’. Some of the advantages of using mineral oils are:
Mineral oil is favoured in certain thermal fluid heaters. This is due to its ability to absorb large amounts of heat without changing state.