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Infrared Heating: What Is It?

By using electromagnetic waves to move energy from the infrared source to the product, infrared heating transfers heat to materials without heating the air between. The infrared radiation released ranges from 0.7 to 6 microns (µ). Wavelengths are chosen for the product to be heated at maximum efficiency in order to save energy.

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At a lower temperature, thermal energy is immediately transmitted to a substance. Because the surrounding air is neither heated or engaged in the transfer of heat, infrared heaters are handy, healthful, and low energy consumption. Propane, natural gas, or electricity may all be used to generate heat effectively and affordably.

The wavelengths of the electromagnetic waves in the infrared spectrum varies widely, from 780 nm to 10 microns for industrial applications. In the infrared spectrum, the shorter wavelengths have greater frequencies and corresponding energies. Ranges of hundreds of degrees Celsius to 6,512 °F (3,600 °C) are created by infrared rays.

Based on these fundamental ideas, advances in energy harnessing have been realized recently. These days, infrared heaters come in a variety of features and designs to suit a wide range of industrial, commercial, and residential applications. They provide warmth to surfaces in garages, warehouses, offices, and living areas. Because they may be used for many operations including drying, curing, printing, and thermoforming, infrared heaters are advantageous to industries. Infrared heaters are used in physiotherapy to enhance rehabilitation in medicine.

The Infrared Heating History

During the first Industrial Revolution (1760–1840), British–German astronomer Sir William Herschel made the discovery of the infrared zone. However, infrared heating was not widely employed until the Second World War, when the military acknowledged its value and began using it to cure the paint and lacquer used on military hardware. This incredibly fuel-efficient heating method took the place of more costly, fuel-guzzling convection ovens that used up valuable fuel supplies.

During the war, in industries and workshops, infrared heaters were used. Following World War II, their popularity drastically decreased as more individuals began to install central heating systems.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a resurgence in infrared heater development due to the push for greener technology. During this time, infrared heating has found numerous applications. Research has been done on design flexibility and novel combinations that might allow infrared heaters to be employed in industrial production facilities or deployed in a variety of settings, such as homes and workplaces. Infrared heating is still growing and developing due to rapid breakthroughs in technology and control system enhancements.

Principles of Operation In front of infrared heaters

The simplest type of heating is called infrared heat, which is the direct transmission of heat from a heater to a substance or object without heating the surrounding air. An infrared heater emits the same kind of heat as the sun does in the surroundings.

The panels of an infrared heater are heated to a temperature at which they release infrared radiation, which travels in a straight line until it comes into contact with a solid object or workpiece. It is a direct heat transmission method that is comparable to the use of radiant waves to transmit heat between metals, coils, and materials.

Conventional heating involves warming the air in a space before any items experience a rise in temperature. Instead of altering the ambient temperature in a room, infrared heaters are made to directly transfer heat onto items to warm them. Infrared heaters not only quickly increase the temperature of materials or objects, but they also finish the heating process at a cheaper cost and with less energy used.

Waves in Electromagnetics

The waves that make up electromagnetic waves oscillate at right angles to one another. There are two types of fields present in the waves: an electric field and a magnetic field.

Wavelength, which is the separation between successive crests in a wave’s cycle, and frequency are the two parameters that characterize electromagnetic waves. Wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum are often measured in angstroms or nanometers. In order to categorize electromagnetic waves, frequency—which is measured in Hertz (Hz)—is the number of wave cycles per second.

There exists an inverse relationship between wavelength and frequency. A wave’s energy is inversely related to its wavelength but directly relates to its frequency. Higher energy and greater transmissibility are possessed by waves with shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies. Less energy is contained in waves with longer wavelengths and lower frequencies.

Electromagnetic waves do not require a medium to create, in contrast to mechanical waves. In order to travel through the air, objects, or even a vacuum, sound waves or mechanical waves do not require the molecules in the surrounding environment. It explains why, even though the sun is millions of miles distant from Earth, we can still feel its warmth and the chill of the surrounding air while we are under its influence. Similar to how the sun works, infrared heaters also function on the basis of this concept.

Waves in the Infrared

Between the visible and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum is the infrared area. The wavelengths of infrared radiation range from 700 nm (430 THz) to 1 mm (300 GHz).

Heat Transfer Through Radiation

The process by which heat is transferred via electromagnetic waves emitted, absorbed, and reflected by living things is known as radiation. Every body that is warmer than -459.4 °F, or -273 °C, releases heat radiation. The random motions, vibrations, and collisions of atoms, molecules, and the protons and electrons that make them up generate heat radiation.

Different kinds of objects, materials, and things emit heat according to their temperature. These things emit thermal energy when they become hotter, which is conveyed by radiation but has no effect on the molecules around it. Thermal energy is independent of the quantity of radiation released by a receiving substance and moves through the air, objects, and even a vacuum with ease. The type of surface and the angle at which radiation is incident are other elements that impact radiation.

Other heat transmission modes that can occur concurrently with radiation are conduction and convection. Heat is transferred by conduction, which is the result of frequent collisions and vibrations between nearby atoms or molecules in materials. Conduction transfers heat from an area with higher kinetic energy to one with lower kinetic energy.

Thermal energy is delivered by convection, which is the movement of molecules within a bulk fluid. The molecules nearest to the main heat source expand and move away from it as a section of the fluid is heated. When molecules travel, thermal energy is also transported with them and is transferred to a cooler area of the fluid mass.