Kanthal is the trademark for a family of iron-chromium-aluminium (FeCrAl) alloys used in a wide range of resistance and high-temperature applications. Kanthal FeCrAl alloys consist of mainly iron, chromium (20–30%) and aluminium (4–7.5 %). The first Kanthal FeCrAl alloy was developed by Hans von Kantzow in Hallstahammar, Sweden. The alloys are known for their ability to withstand high temperatures and having intermediate electric resistance. As such, it is frequently used in heating elements. The trademark Kanthal is owned by Sandvik Intellectual Property AB.
For heating, resistance wire must be stable in air when hot. Kanthal FeCrAl alloy forms a protective layer of aluminum oxide (alumina). Aluminium oxide is an electrical insulator but has a relatively high thermal conductivity; special techniques may be required to make good electrical connections.
Ordinary Kanthal FeCrAl alloy has a melting point of 1,500 °C (2,730 °F). Special grades can be used as high as 1,425 °C (2,597 °F).
Kanthal is used in heating elements due to its flexibility, durability and tensile strength. Its uses are widespread, with it being used in toasters, home and industrial heaters and diffusion heaters (used in the making of crystalline silicon).
Recently, Kanthal has been used in electronic cigarettes as a heating coil. Unlike alternative types of metal such as Nichrome, Kanthal is durable enough to withstand the temperatures needed, but flexible and cheap enough to be practical.
Kanthal comes in standardised gauging, with higher numbers being thinner and lower being thicker.
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- US 7027722, Uemori, Susumu & Takashi Aitani, "Electric heater for a semiconductor processing apparatus", issued 2006-04-11
- "Kanthal heating technology products — Kanthal". www.kanthal.com. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
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- misthub.com. "Tutorial: NiChrome vs Ni-200 vs Titanium vs Kanthal vs Stainless Steel | MistHub". www.misthub.com. Retrieved 2017-01-04.