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Ceramic heaters are usually portable and typically used for heating a room or small office, and are of similar utility to metal-element fan heaters.
How ceramic heaters work
PTC ceramic material is semi-conductive and when voltage is applied to it, the power decreases quickly as it reaches a certain temperature according to the particular composition of the ceramic. This means its temperature is self-regulating.
The ceramic elements are in contact with aluminium fins, thereby heating the fins up. A fan blowing across the fins heats the air.
Differences from other electric heaters
Electric heating elements made of resistance wire also have a positive temperature coefficient of resistivity, but do not increase their resistance enough to be self-regulating; they are typically used with the wires red-hot. The ceramic, on the other hand, increases its resistance sharply at the Curie temperatures of the crystalline components, typically 120 degrees Celsius, and remains below 200 degrees Celsius, providing a significant safety advantage.
- Dakss, Brian (9 February 2005). "A Guide To Space Heaters". CBSNews.com. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- US patent 4703153