A cartridge heater is an electrical heating element consisting of a coiled wire surrounding a cylindrical metal or ceramic cartridge. The cartridge can be either air- or water-cooled, depending on the application. In small sizes, the heaters are often used for handheld hair dryers and similar devices. In large sizes, the cartridge heaters are often used for heating fluids in industrial processes.
As you select from the wide range of cartridge heaters for sale, here are some elements you should consider:
Heat Transfer Coefficient
The heat transfer coefficient is the speed at which heat travels through a material. A high heat transfer coefficient means that more heat will flow through a specific point per unit time. This is desirable when using cartridge heaters to dissipate the excess heat from a soldering station, which will inevitably reduce the temperature within the tip. The heat transfer coefficient of cartridge heaters varies with the material used and its dimensions.
For example, when using an aluminum cartridge, heaters expect a lower than usual value for this parameter than pure copper. Smaller values usually produce better performance results, but this is not always the case, depending on other factors such as frequency and duty cycle.
Another factor in determining how good a cartridge heater will be in terms of heating and cooling speed is manufacturing quality and process control: processes such as brazing must be well controlled to achieve the best possible electrical insulation between windings without reducing power rating.
Length Of Wire Or Coils
This relates to the length of time the cartridge heater will take to heat up and cool down. As mentioned above, small cartridge heaters are often used for handheld hair dryers and use an aluminum cartridge with a rectangular cross-section. Because these only need to reach high temperatures at very short notice.
For instance, when you need to remove your wet hair from the hairdryer, voltage is applied using a static switch which causes current flow through all windings simultaneously. The shorter the wires, the faster this initial heating process will be.
Pulse Width Modulation
Pulse width modulation refers to how quickly power can be turned on and off to keep air temperature within certain limits. One way of achieving this with cartridge heaters is to use a pulse width modulation (PWM) controller, which quickly pulses the power on and off. This is similar to how modern car engines work: very fast switching between power and idling means the engine only uses the minimum amount of fuel necessary for optimal performance, instead of using more fuel while converting it to unnecessary power to keep the temperature down.
The ability to regulate temperature is crucial in all heating elements, whether cartridge heaters or conventional wire-wound resistance heaters. After all, your soldering station should be able to heat up within a specific time frame but also cool down quickly once you are finished soldering if you do not want the tip to overheat.
A cartridge heater is an electrical resistance heating device used in large commercial and industrial buildings to provide thermal comfort for employees. The best cartridge heaters are durable, efficient, easy to use, versatile and safe.