Violating the Laws of Physics

Customers rely on us to solve their heating problems, but sometimes we can’t provide what they want simply because it’s not possible! The Laws of Physics and Thermodynamics are unbreakable, and sometimes it’s hard for our customers to understand the reasons why we can’t give them the results they were hoping for. Below are some of the most common issues we run into when consulting with our customers.

“It’s going to take HOW LONG?”

A large amount of material will take a long time to heat up. One of the most common requests we get is to heat up a material in as little time as possible. If you don’t have a lot of material to be heated, getting up to temperature can be done in less than an hour or so. However, we see a lot of customers looking to heat large tanks of liquids in a small amount of time, and telling them that it might take a half a day to do so is not the news they want to hear. Even though we can make high powered heaters that could theoretically heat your material in a shorter amount of time, there are many limitations that exist and are described below.

“Insulation? Don’t be silly!”

If you don’t insulate, heat will be lost on the surfaces of the material being heated. When a temperature difference exists between two materials, heat will be transferred from the hot side to the cooler side. This is one of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, and can only be avoided by containing the heat with insulation. Even though insulation isn’t 100% efficient, it can reduce the amount of time needed to bring a material up to temperature, as well as the amount of power needed to maintain a temperature. The larger the exposed surface area, the more energy is being lost.

“Why does it have to be so big?”

The amount of watts a heater can output largely depends on the size of the heating elements. The larger the watts per square inch, the more likely you will experience heater failure. If you need a high power heater that needs to fit in an extremely small space, we might not be able to help you without making compromises. The material you are heating also has limitations on the amount of watts per area that can be applied. This is because the material must have the ability to transfer the energy that the heater is providing. If the watts per area is larger than what is recommended for the material, your heater will scorch the material, buildup will form on the elements, and the heater will eventually burn out.

“What do Amps have to do with it?”

You can only supply as much power as your electrical system can provide. Knowing the maximum current of the power supply is the first step in determining the maximum watts we can put in your heater. For example, a 240V AC line on a 40 Amp circuit breaker can supply a maximum of 9600 watts to a single phase heater. The length, gauge, and material of the wire used to power your heater also places limitations on the amount of power that can be supplied to your heater. If the wire you choose is not rated for the amount of power you need for your heater, it can be extremely dangerous.