A very common type of heating element, tubular heating elements can be bent in standard or custom shapes to fit a particular application; this flexibility accounts for much of tubular heaters’ popularity.
Tubular heaters are very versatile heating elements; they can be used to conduct heat directly or through the air, and they can even be used as immersion heaters. Because of their versatility, tubular heaters can be found in use throughout industry, commerce and in consumer products contexts.
Tubular heaters are also sometimes referred to as coil heaters, though not all coil heaters are tubular. Tubular heating coils can be found in consumer, commercial and industrial ovens and dryers, in dishwashers, in space heaters, and in a wide variety of other equipment and appliances. They are sometimes coated with ceramic insulation to improve heat generation capacity and to protect the heating element from hazards.
Tubular heating elements are usually constructed of an inner conductive material and protective sheathing. Some of these materials include nickel, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and other electrically and thermally conductive metals.
In order to ensure the optimization and safety of a tubular heater’s performance, careful considerations as to its composition and pairing with other components must be made. For example, tubular heaters that are used to provide heat near combustible materials are often designed to be explosion resistant. This ensures that in the event of an accidental ignition during heating, the heating element will not exacerbate the problem. They can also be equipped with other safety features and controls, such as independent timing controls, overheat protection, internal temperature detectors and other safeguards.
Tubular heaters that are used in ovens are often insulated with a ceramic material like silicon carbide in order to augment heat generation capacity and to prevent unwanted contact with hazards like dripping oils or grease; this reduces the likelihood of accidental ignition. Other common insulation materials include fluoropolymers, other metals like iron and nickel alloys, polyimides, and even synthetic rubber.
Because tubular heaters are so versatile, and because of the wide range of customization options available to their users, tubular heating elements can be applied in a greater range of contexts than can most other heating element varieties.