A flexible heater is a device capable of producing heat by an electric or chemical source with many flexible mechanical properties. Flexible heaters can bend to an extent and can adhere to various surfaces, be they curved or linear. They can be made using printed electronics, wires, Flex PCBs, and more. Each of these systems meets a specific set of standards for heating and overall performance and size, shape, and weight requirements. So, you must choose the right type of flexible heater for a given application.
If you are looking for a flexible heater, then the first thing that comes to your mind is probably the silicone heating system. Silicone heater is popular not only because they are flexible but also because they have very high efficiency. The other reason why they are so popular is that they are available in so many different shapes and sizes. It makes it easy for you to find one that will fit the specifications of your space.
Types of flexible heaters
Polyimide flexible heaters
Polyimide flexible heaters are made up of an embossed stainless steel sheet metal layer, usually sandwiched between two sheets of polyimide movie plastic with an aluminium or copper bottom or outer surface. The flexible heaters are very thin, sometimes as small as 0.7″. They come in both open-ended and closed-ended types. The most common application of flexible heaters is in industrial applications since they are use in conveying large amounts of temperature and exerting high temperatures.
The most popular types of flexible heaters are the open-ended types, which are typically available in round or rectangular shapes. Some of these types are equipped with stainless steel mesh wiring for ease of installation and troubleshooting. The most popular applications of these types are in heating furnaces and steam rooms. One of the best advantages of the open-ended, flexible heater models is that there is no insulation require, making them very efficient. However, the open-ended types also require heating coils that are wrap around a flexible core wire. This can result in poor power quality, short life, and poor performance over time.
Wire-wound polyester heaters
Another very popular type of flexible heater that is often use in applications other than industrial ones is the wire-wound type. Wire-wound flexible heaters are also called polyester heaters. Although they look similar to polyester-based heater, they are constructed differently. Instead of being wound around the core wire, the wire wire-wound heater is wrapped around a cooling fan motor that consists of several copper windings. These types of flexible heaters have excellent energy efficiency, but they have lower output power and longer endurance than their polyester-based cousins.
Silicone rubber heaters
Another option that can be used when designing a flexible heater application is silicone rubber heaters. Like flexible polyester heaters, silicone rubber heaters are often use in industrial applications. Although these flexible heaters do have lower heat output than polyester-based flexible heaters, silicone rubber heaters have higher electrical efficiency and excellent thermal conductivity. These flexible heaters are most often use in hot water applications.
Custom silicone rubber heaters
The other most flexible heater option is the combination of the polyimide film heaters and the silicone rubber heaters. This combination heater heating system produces high temperatures and offers long-lasting service. These two types of flexible heater require different construction techniques. In the case of the polyimide film heaters, they use a heat-reversing or heat-sphere process to make it possible to raise the melting point of the polymer. This method is also useful in increasing the electrical conductivity of the heat exchanger.
On the other hand, silicone heaters use polyimide sheets to form the internal structure of the unit. The advantage of using silicone heaters over polyimide heaters is that the silicone sheets. The form of the internal surface of the heater so that the two do not need to compete for space. These are extremely lightweight, thus offering compact and efficient designs. It is also possible to employ flexing techniques on silicone sheets to make the unit more flexible.
Another option available to heaters is the lead wire and rubber heater combination. In the case of the lead wire, the ceramic or the metallic layer of the sheet is heat up electrically. As the thin metal contact the hot surface of the flexible polyimide. It heats up, and this contact causes a conductive current. The flexible rubber heaters are available in various shapes and sizes with regard to the thickness of the silicone rubber sheet used in their construction. They can use on many surfaces, including metals, timber, and other non-metals as well.