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Heating Element Alloys

A heating element converts electricity into heat through the process of Joule heating. Electrical current running through the element encounters resistance, resulting in heating of the element.

Most heating elements use Nickel-chrome(NiCr) wire or ribbon as the conductor. Nickel-chrome(NiCr) is an ideal material as it is inexpensive, has relatively high resistance, and does not break down or oxidize in air in its useful temperature range.

Commercial Heating Elements

There are five kinds of commercial heating elements:

High-Temperature Heating Elements

Heating elements for high-temperature furnaces are often made of exotic materials, including platinum, molybdenum disilicide, and silicon carbide. Silicon carbide igniters are common in gas ovens.

For many applications, heating elements may be made from wire or strip in Nickel-Chromium or Iron-Chromium-Aluminium alloys. These can generate furnace temperatures up to 1280°C (2336°F). For furnace temperatures up to 1600°C (2912°F) or in lower temperatures where high power inputs are required, Silicon Carbide heating elements are often ideal. For furnace temperatures up to 1800°C (3272°F) and in some other applications, Molybdenum Disilicide heating elements can provide the answer.