A ceramic heater as a consumer product is a space heater that generates heat using a heating element of PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) ceramic. 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.
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. 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.
- Wang, Xia; Zhang, Luyan; Chen, Gang (1 November 2011). "Hot embossing and thermal bonding of poly(methyl methacrylate) microfluidic chips using positive temperature coefficient ceramic heater". Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 401 (8): 2657–2665. doi:10.1007/s00216-011-5377-5. ISSN 1618-2650.
- Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan. Fuji Marketing Research Company. 1992.
- "Ceramic Heaters Archives". Space Heaters. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- US patent 4703153