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Building an infrared heater element

  1. Mar 29, 2012 #1
    So, as the title describes, I am trying to build an infrared heating element for my own heating panel. I want to use this heater to cure an epoxy at 350F that is about 5" away. I'm an EE so the wiring and such will be simple but the heating calculations are beyond my area of expertise. Here is my train of thought so far:

    1. I want to use nickel-chromium resistance wire to make an element.
    - How do I calculate the amount of heat this wire will give off?
    - I am told that I need a watt density of 7 watts/in2 for my application. I want
    the heater panel to have a heating surface of 15"x15" so depending on the
    diameter and resistance of the wire i can pick the correct size amount of wire.
    - Can I use this wire bare? I know there are different types of heaters but I don't know
    if I've ever seen one with just bare wire as a heating element.
    - Most companies use either a glass or fiber glass face to cover the element (basically
    for protection purposes I'm told). Does this effect my heating capabilities?

    2. What are my other options as far as creating a heating element go?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Lets see
    15x15 = 225 sq inches
    7 watts/ sq inch
    gives 1575 watts
    if that is the understanding of stipulation you have mentioned

    A regular toaster for your kitchen has bare wire.

    You can use glass ( make sure it is the correct type of glass for thermal application and not regular window pane glass ) or a wire mesh so you can't poke your fingers inside.
    With glass you also canot poke a stick or metal rod inside, which may be regulatory if you plan on marketing and selling your device.
  4. Apr 2, 2012 #3
    Yes, the watt density is easy to calculate. I was trying to figure out what temp I had to get the coil to in order to get my epoxy (about 5") away up to temperature. I did find the answer to that question though.

    Does anyone know what type of heat transfer I'll get if I wrap the coil in a cermaic or fiberglass woven blanket? I assume the blanket will need to be heated via conduction and then the blanket becomes the infrared radiator?
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