What is a heating element?

Heating elements usually consist of a coil, ribbon, and a wire that gives off heat. When a voltage flows through it, it will glow bright hot red and convert the electrical energy into heat energy which will radiate out in all directions.

Heating elements are usually made of nickel or iron. The ones made of nickel are usually nichrome which consists of almost 80% nickel and 20% chromium. There are so many reasons why nichrome is the most famous heating element material. Nichrome has a very high melting point – 1400°C. It doesn’t oxidize at high temperatures and only expands very little when it heats up. Nichrome also has a very reasonable resistance.

Types of Heating Elements

There are various kinds of heating elements. Sometimes the nichrome used is bare, other times it is embedded in a ceramic material to make it more durable. Ceramics are very good at coping with very high temperature and can withstand a lot of continuous heating and cooling. The dimensions of the heating appliance largely governs the size and shape of a heating element as it has to fit properly inside and the area over which it requires to produce heat. Hair curling tongs have coiled shorter elements because they need to produce heat over a thin tube in which hair will be wrapped around. Electric radiators on the other hand, have long bar elements because they need to throw heat out across the room’s wide area. Electric stoves have coiled heated elements just the suitable size to heat cooking pans. Usually electric stoves will be made of ceramics, glass or metal so that they are easier to clean afterwards.

The heating elements are very visible in a lot of appliances these days. For instance in an electric toaster, it is very easy to spot the nichrome ribbons built into the toaster because it glows bright hot red once switched on. Electrical radiators, make heat with glowing red coiled bars while electrical converter heaters have circular and concentric heating elements position right in front of electrical fans which enables them to transport heat faster by convection. There are appliances which has visible elements that work at much lower temperature and do not glow such as electric kettles which only operate at the boiling point of water. For safety reasons too, many appliances have their heating elements completely concealed like electrical showers and hair straighteners or flat irons so that the risk of electrocution can be successfully lowered.

Heating elements may sound very simple and straightforward, but there are many different factors that electrical and electronic engineers have to consider when they design them. Did you know that there are estimated 20 to 30 different factors that can affect the performance of a heating element?  This includes things like the voltage and current, the resistance (the diameter of the element and type of material will affect this) and of course, the operating temperature. There are also specific factors you need to consider for each different type of element. For example, with round wire made into a coiled element, the diameters of the wire and the pitch as well as stretch of the coil are among the things that critically affect the performance. However, with a ribbon element, the thickness, width and surface area of the ribbon will all be factored in.



Tips for Installing Marble Flooring Tiles

Marble flooring tiles can be a very beautiful addition to any room. It has a unique grain to it that cannot be gotten from any other product. There are cheaper imitations to marble flooring tiles, but nothing can beat the real thing. Here are some of the things tips that will be helpful for you when installing marble flooring tiles.


  1. Preparing the subfloor

You need to make sure that you are dealing with a structurally sound subfloor when you plan on installing marble flooring tiles. However, if you have concrete subfloor, you can install marble flooring tiles directly to it because concrete is very strong and has the abilities to prevent the breaking of marble flooring tiles and support it well. If the concrete is not flat and level, a self-leveling compound will be needed to even it out. If the case isn’t too bad, you can simply use some thinset by applying it to the uneven areas when you are installing the marble flooring tile. If you are dealing with wood subfloor, you need to reinforce is with concrete board. A lot of people may take a dangerous shortcut by installing marble flooring tile directly on to the wood subfloor which can bring about many unwanted consequences. The marble flooring tile will break into pieces sooner or later. Wood subfloor does not have the ability to support marble flooring tile because it moves too much. With that being said, a concrete board has to be installed first. Before doing such, thinset needs to be applied between the concrete board and the wooden subfloor. Then you can screw the concrete board down the wood subfloor.


  1. Marble cutting

You will need to make some cuttings to finish your job of installing marble flooring tiles. Standard tile snappers are not good enough when working with marble. Tile snappers might be good for ceramic tiles but does not work well with marble. What you need when cutting a marble flooring tile is a wet saw. It has to have a diamond tipped blade to cut through marble. You need to be extra careful when cutting marble because it can break the grain which is inside the tile. Make sure you make a very clean, precise cut.


  1. Tile cleaning

One you got your marble flooring tile all good and installed, you have to thoroughly clean it. Any thinset or grout on top of the tile can dry and cause a major problem. Use a wet sponge to clean off the top of the tile. It will make the marble flooring tile look very clean, polished and more like a professional installation.