Widely used in semiconductor production equipment, silicone rubber heaters are versatile enough for food service equipment, medical technology, and more.
Silicone rubber fibreglass heaters are composed of fibreglass-reinforced silicone rubbers that are resistant to moisture and chemicals. Thin and flexible, silicone rubber heaters are designed to meet the requirements of various low and medium-temperature applications requiring irregular shapes, sizes, and dimensions.
Known for their unique flexibility properties, silicone heaters can withstand mechanical shock and vibration. Silicone heaters consist of two silicone “wafers” with a heating resistor trapped between them. Thermostat controls are options used to help achieve your desired temperature.
Teflon lead wires exit through any location of your choice and are offered at any length you require. They are perfect for applications that require direct heat such as surfaces, barrels, and conical shapes as well as cylinders and small areas where traditional electric heaters will not fit.
The adhesive backing is also available to help with attachment. Silicone heaters are used in applications requiring up to 232 degrees Celsius such as freeze protection of electrical enclosures and are known for their unique qualities such as high dielectric strength, non-toxic, and fire resistance.
A Flexible Solution: the Advantages of Silicone Rubber Fibreglass Heaters
Flexible silicone rubber heaters are thin, lightweight surface heaters with the ability to flex or mould to the contour of the heated surface. They’re renowned for their adaptability, owing to their slim profile, are lightweight, and are able to fit into small spaces. However, they are also durable, stable, and capable of lasting many of the components that surround them in microchip processors and other machines thanks to their stiffness.
The silicone heater has a wire winding and an etched foil heating circuit, which are laminated between two thin layers of silicone. The flexible silicone rubber heater has geometric flexibility and customization capabilities, making it an ideal choice for static and dynamic applications. Silicone rubber heating elements can be easily integrated into any existing application because they are fully customizable. They can also be used in combination with connectors, TSATs, and temperature sensors for effective results.
They’re normally designed according to shape and dimensions, including three-dimensional geometry to meet the requirement of your equipment. They’re also moistureproof and anti-slip silicone rubber material offers more working life of resistances.
In addition, silicone rubber heaters offer fast heating and efficient heat transfer. These heaters can also operate at temperatures up to 500°F. They provide consistent temperature uniformity while reducing wattage requirements, which is what makes them so apt for central heating applications.
Ease of installation is another advantage that silicone rubber heaters have over other options. Due to their flexible nature, silicone rubber heaters are conducive to fitting into small notches or isolated corners, although as will be discussed in this article their placement requires caution. Silicone rubber heaters also happen to be less expensive than comparable alternatives.
Thanks to advances in applied science, this kind of silicone rubber heater offers a new level of geometric flexibility for your business applications.
“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.”
Where Are Flexible Silicone Heaters Used?
These heaters are used for space-limited applications that require moisture protection and provide excellent dielectric insulating properties. They can be used for:
- Medical devices and instruments
- HVAC equipment
- Photographic processing equipment
- Computer peripherals
- Semiconductor processing equipment
- Packaging equipment
- Food service equipment
- Battery heating
- Sales equipment
- Drain freeze protection
- Spacecraft technology
In terms of flexible electronics, they present several advantages that make them an excellent solution for protecting electrical heating elements from damage, including a wide temperature range and superior heat transfer properties.
Silicone Rubber Heater Installation Considerations
When installing silicone rubber heaters, it’s essential to carefully follow instructions to preserve the structure and longevity of heaters, as well as ensure lasting quality. Although silicone heaters are flexible, they are prone to damage from over-bending, pulling, and shearing, which are the main causes of damage-related pre-installation returns.
Safety measures must also be taken into account during the installation process. In addition, attention needs to be paid when repairing the equipment surrounding these heaters. 8mm silicone foam is used in order to prevent heat from escaping, for closed-cell construction that can be bonded to materials for exceptional thermal insulation.
Flexible heaters come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes including holes and adhesives for mounting. The unique properties of silicone rubber heaters make them ideal for applications requiring a heater with the following characteristics:
- Moisture and chemical resistance
- Dimensional stability
- High uniform watt density
- High-temperature resistance
How One of these Heaters Can Be Used
Anyone who lives in northern climates knows that cold weather is hard on equipment stored outdoors. This includes cars, tractors, trucks, snowploughs, generators, pumps, snowmobiles, trains, and aeroplanes. One of the weak points of cold weather is batteries. A flexible silicone heater placed under a battery can keep the battery from freezing and ensure that you can start the engine. Heaters are available in 12V or 120V depending on the application.
Other cold weather applications may include types of pipes such as pipeline valves in windmills and outdoor pumping equipment. Flexible heaters are most suitable when attachment and wrapping around the surface to be heated is of value. A heater that is under a battery must be rugged and able to withstand wear and tear from the weight of the battery itself.
Reinforced by the fibreglass layer sandwiched between two outer layers of silicone rubber, this material provides excellent dimensional stability, tear resistance, weather resistance, engine oil resistance, high-temperature resistance, and durability, and can cover many metres of surface.
Before installing a silicone rubber heater, it’s essential to perform some pre-work. After verifying the integrity of the circuit, installers must ensure that the metal part corresponding to the heater is clean and smooth; be aware that metal burrs could penetrate the surface of the heater and contribute to malfunction.
A critical step prior to actual heater placement is to remove the labels from the part. If the labels are not removed, heat-related problems can occur that affect heater operation and even cause a fire hazard.
The label becomes a fuel source if a label isn’t rated for a heater’s operating temperature. Certain types of labels can cause a chemical reaction that releases chlorides and decomposes the silicone rubber. Over time, this can lead to arcing or combustion from the build-up of more than one chemical element.
Before installation, the heater should also be inspected for any damage, especially to the ends and the inside surface that will come in contact with the part. Never install a damaged heater.
Silicone rubber heaters are often damaged during the installation process or when removed for maintenance on surrounding modules. Damage usually occurs when the heater is bent, pulled, twisted or trimmed.
These heaters are designed to fit snugly for optimum heat transfer, but should also fit without cutting and with minimal insulation compression and limited tension on the fasteners. No devices other than the jacket fasteners should be used to hold the heaters in place.
Watlow recommends a second fixture after initial installation to ensure uniform contact with the part. Adjustment of heater fixtures may be necessary, but the proper adjustment is important to avoid hot or cold spots, maintain consistent heat transfer, and prevent premature heater failure.
Cleanliness and Humidity
As an integral part of the manufacturing of semiconductors, silicone rubber heaters often operate in clean room environments where operating temperatures are generally stable and dust is negligible. Medical, communications, and aerospace applications often have similar requirements, but to a lesser extent, making silicone rubber heaters ideal for multiple industries and applications.
Cleanliness is less of a concern for the service life of silicone rubber heaters than moisture. Although silicone rubber is water resistant, heaters should not be sprayed or submerged in liquid. The heaters must remain dry to protect their long-term functionality. the heater can be used on metal condensation tanks to keep liquids above their freezing points, protecting the materials.
Silicone Rubber Fibreglass Heater Maintenance
Even with a service life that can exceed 10 years, silicone rubber heaters do not have a periodic maintenance schedule. However, occasional maintenance problems may arise with the equipment in which the heaters are installed and may require removal and reinstallation of the heaters.
The heaters can be removed by following the installation instructions in reverse order, but remember to handle the heaters with care when removing them. Before removing the glow plugs from the parts, allow them to cool completely; silicone rubber glow plugs are especially vulnerable to damage from rough handling when hot.
Removal of a silicone rubber heater should not require pulling or extreme bending. Don’t use the heater lead wires to remove the heater from the pipe and be sure to completely disengage the jacket fasteners before removing the heaters. Pay attention to the bracket points and edges when removing the heaters, as there may be additional fasteners or other protrusions that could damage the heaters.
Prior to reinstallation, a heater should be evaluated for discolouration or brittleness, which are indicators of over-temperature exposure, as well as small punctures or other signs of damage that may have been caused by handling or contact with interference points within the equipment where the heater resides. It’s essential not to reinstall a heater that appears to be damaged. If the heater is undamaged, it should easily snap back into place without force.
How Are the Heaters Mounted on the Surface?
In terms of surface science, heaters can be custom-made to adhere to specific surfaces. Often only a special heat-resistant adhesive is used. Holes or grommets are also used in the design, as well as belts, and are available in wireless applications.
What is the Melting Temperature of Silicone?
Silicone does not have a melting point and remains solid until combustion occurs. It becomes brittle over time when exposed to high temperatures. It varies with composition, but combustion is around 450 degrees Celsius. Most heaters have a maximum continuous operating temperature of 180 degrees Celsius.
Is Silicone an Ideal Electrical Insulator?
Silicone rubber is an excellent electrical insulator. The actual insulating properties depend on the rubber mixture during manufacture. It is also resistant to oxidation and UV radiation degradation, making it the right choice for electrical insulators. Additional aluminium or silicone insulation can be applied to one side of the heater to prevent heat loss where it is not needed.
Get in Touch
We advise that you take a look at all the silicone rubber flexible fibreglass heaters available. If you’re struggling to figure out which design is best for your needs, we suggest reaching out to a professional who can assist. Get in touch with our professional team who provide excellent expertise on the benefits and drawbacks of each choice, allowing you to make the right decision. Silicone rubber flexible fibreglass heaters with wire-wound elements provide an excellent source for uniform heat especially on challenging shapes or applications with flexing or vibration.