Silicone heaters have some unique flexible properties

Silicone heaters are devices with a low thermal mass, excellent electrical insulation properties, easy fastening, and very good protection against external influences. As such, they can be used for applications that need to heat elements of complex and irregular shapes (curves) or where there is very little room, so the heater of low mass and/or small dimensions is required. They are especially good for stainless steel elements that require heat, commonly used in, for example  catering, where mounted under the element, they heat the surface that will keep our food warm. They have a wide range of industrial, commercial, and military applications where reliability, cost of effectiveness, minimum cross section, resistance to deterioration and basic flexibility are critical, and are suitable for heating both, flat and curved surfaces (pipes, barrels, etc.). Silicone rubber heater assemblies with integrated resistance temperature detector (RTD) sensors present the popular solution for many medical applications including IV fluid delivery, respiratory therapy medications, and gases, and are also used for patientˈ s comfort during MRI imaging procedures. By heating fluids and gases to 37°C (98.6°F), they increase the likelihood of patient falling into hypothermia and enhance his comfort.


Silicone rubber heaters can be custom made

How are they made

This type of heaters are usually composed of fiberglass reinforced, moist and chemically resistant silicone rubbers that give them great dimensional stability without sacrificing flexibility. Silicone rubber is pressed onto fiberglass cloth in a wide range of thicknesses and constructions. Generally, two layers of etched foil containing material or a precision wire wound element, are vulcanized together to form a basic silicone heating element. Although most devices of a kind are manufactured in a flat flexible heater shape, there is a possibility of a big variety of formed shapes, which can provide superior heat transfer, and makes the installation much easier. A typical design of this kind of device is a cylindrically shaped heating element that matches a pipe of the same diameter, but using contemporary techniques, they can be also shaped into more complex shapes, tailored by the the customer's requirements.

Because very little material that separates the element from the heated part, the silicone heaters assure rapid and efficient heat transfer. Their construction is normally very thin and will fit the applications with strict space limitations. They are perfect for various low and medium temperature applications requiring irregular shapes, sizes, and dimensions. Silicone heaters are known for their unique flexible properties, can withstand mechanical shock and vibration and have unique qualities such as a high dielectric strength, non-toxicity, and flame retardance. Their thermostat controls help to reach the target temperature.

Elastic wrap silicone rubber heaters

Elastic Wrap Heater (EWH) technology  is used for applications that require freeze protection or to prevent condensation. Based on silicone rubber heater technology, the lengths of this flexible device are coiled similar to a telephone cord. Its elasticity facilitates easy wrapping of the heater around heating pipes, tubes, and fittings. The molded end protector snaps around a pipe to provide structural support for the lead wires. We can successfully apply them in applications such as plumbing systems for water treatment and semiconductor processing equipment. Elastic wrap heaters are typically used on piping from 0.25 in. (6.35 mm) to 4.0 in. (10.16 mm) in diameter. The ease of installation and removal, along with the inert characteristics of silicone rubber make elastic wrap heaters an excellent value.

Custom silicone heaters

Silicone heaters pose a certain advantage of being manufactured using a CNC machine, meaning that their shape can be perfectly tailored to the client's wishes and needs. They can be integrated with thermostats and safety elements with different temperature ranges, can be equipped with various connecting cables of any length, and also come in self-adhesive versions.

Summary

If we sum all together, flexible silicone heaters are rugged, yet thin, lightweight and flexible. Their use is limited only by our imagination, as by using them we can apply heat literally wherever it is needed. They improve heat transfer, speed warm ups, decrease wattage requirements and present a perfect solution for applications that require direct heat (different surfaces, heating pipes, barrels, conical shapes as well as the insides of some cylinders and small areas where traditional electric heating elements cannot fit). The temperature range for their operation is from −60 to +230 °C. They are most commonly used for elimination of condensation, frost protection in different branches of industry, medicine, catering (reheating food), tempering, snow melting, preventing condensation and more. All low wattage heating elements, where the length and the width dimensions exceed 305 mm are made with the wire-wound element design. A gentle warming is best done with 2.5 W/in2. Model, while the all purpose unit is usually the 5 W/in2 one. A 10 W/in2  model achieves rapid warm-up and high temperature, however, there is a chance of exceeding maximum operating temperature limit of 450°F (232°C), so the temperature must be controlled regularly.

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