Heating Elements - An Overview

A heating element is a device which converts electricity into heat.  Heating elements work on the principle of Joule heating which is also known as Resistive heating.  When electric current flows through a conductor, the electrons collide with atoms in the lattice structure producing heat.  Electrical Energy is thus converted into heat energy.  

The heating elements can get oxidized at high temperatures.  Hence, the heating element needs to be made of a material which can withstand the high temperatures.

Heating elements are widely used in both domestic and industrial applications.  Toasters, kitchen ovens, heating irons, water heaters and industrial furnaces are some equipments where heating elements are used.

The element is constructed by tightly coiled conductors of special alloys such as Nichrome.  Heating elements are simple in construction and operation.  Heating elements are usually controlled by a thermostat which measures the temperature and switches off the heating elements when the set temperature has been reached.

Heating elements are classified as convective elements and Radiative Elements.  Convective elements work by transferring heat through air to the medium to be heated.  Radiative Elements function by transferring heat through infrared radiation.