A silicone heater is a flexible heater with an internal wire element and a body made of silicone rubber. These durable heaters can operate at temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Silicone performs well in environments where there are rapid changes in temperature, and it is highly resistant to moisture and chemicals. These durable qualities make silicone the material of choice for heaters that will be exposed to harsh conditions in industrial or commercial settings. The circuit’s surface can also be chemically etched to create a more even heat distribution pattern. Adhesive backing can be added to the heater if it is being fitted to a flat surface after manufacturing, and fasteners of various sizes are available for many applications.
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Applications of Silicone Heaters
Silicone heaters are very popular as an integrated feature in industrial equipment and they can be found in applications like freeze protection, control bridging, process control and maintenance, flow/viscosity control and heating units for storage tanks, and cylinders. Some silicone heaters are made to wrap around barrel drums full of chemicals that need to be kept at a particular temperature. Much smaller heaters can be made to be wrapped around beakers in a laboratory to keep liquids warm while experiments are being conducted or products are being mixed. Control switches are sometimes integrated into the design of silicone heaters, but the most basic ones simply need to be connected to a power source to be activated.
Silicone Heater Design and Customization
In most silicone heaters, a fiberglass grid reinforces the silicone sheet making it strong and durable while still allowing it to be thin and light. Thermostats, thermocouples, and fuses can be built into the heater, and it can accommodate holes if it needs to be fitted with other components. There are two styles of heating circuits that can be used with silicone rubber, and each has its own advantages. Wire wound circuits are made by designing a specific pattern to wrap the resistance wire around a fiberglass core. The second style, an etched foil circuit, has a flat circuit created by chemically etching a resistant circuit out of nickel alloy resistance foil.