Quartz in Infrared Heater Design: Why Is It Used and How Does It Work?

Derek Burkholder
September 28, 2020
Quartz in Infrared Heater Design: Why Is It Used and How Does It Work?

Historically, many infrared heaters utilized ceramic within them as a material that is resistant to high temperatures.  Nowadays, many infrared heater designs use quartz instead of ceramic because of its superior properties. This post discusses the benefits of quartz in infrared heater design and the different types of quartz infrared heaters that Casso-Solar Technologies offers.

Introduction to Quartz Infrared Heaters

Infrared heating is the process of heating an object through the use of radiative heat transfer. An electric heating element is powered to produce energy in the infrared energy spectrum that then transfers to the target object.  Air does not readily absorb infrared energy, so the majority of energy is used to heat the target. Historically, the heating elements were encased in ceramic which served two purposes.  The first is to electrically isolate the element and the second is to be a material that can withstand the high temperatures without deforming.  The downside to this older design is that the ceramic absorbs a good portion of the energy that is meant for the target object.  This is where quartz becomes useful.

By substituting quartz for the ceramic to encase the heater elements, the efficiency of heating is significantly improved.  This is because in addition to having similar electrical insulation and temperature resistance, quartz has a third useful property, it is nearly “transparent” to infrared energy.  This means that the energy produced by the heating element is capable of passing through the quartz without being absorbed.  High quality quartz can have over 95% “transparency” to the infrared energy.  Quartz can be used as a replacement for ceramic in nearly all heater designs for an immediate benefit to efficiency.

Quartz Infrared Heater Types Available

Depending on the application, there are a number of different quartz infrared heater options available:

  • Medium Wavelength Tube Heaters: Typical construction is a heating element contained inside a quartz tube.  These can be mounted in banks to create large heating arrays good for numerous drying applications.
  • Short Wavelength Tube Heaters: Similar to medium wavelength tube heaters, these also contain an element inside a quartz tube.  The difference is that these elements are made from tungsten and the quartz tubes are sealed and filled with a noble gas.  These heaters are excellent for metal and powder coating applications.
  • Quartz Panel Heaters: The Casso-Solar Technologies C+ Heater has a fused quartz face with a heating element embedded just under the surface.  These higher mass heaters are good at producing an even energy output over a larger surface area than a tube heater.
  • Furnace Tube Heaters: These heaters are produced by wrapping a heating element around a quartz tube.  By putting the heating element on the exterior rather than interior of the quartz tube the user can get the benefits of both convection and IR heating.  These heaters are best utilized in furnace applications where both the environment and the target object need to be heated to a set temperature.

In all heater types, the quartz is being utilized to allow for the maximum amount of energy transfer efficiency possible from the heating element to the product. By ensuring that the material of heater construction is not absorbing the energy output of the element, processes can be completed in less time with lower energy consumption to save both time and money.

The higher quality the quartz, the better the energy transfer.  Casso-Solar Technologies carefully sources our quartz to ensure the highest efficiencies possible. Our heater designs have been specifically crafted to maximize the energy produced.  Call today to learn more about quartz infrared heaters and how they can be utilized in your process.

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Written by:
Derek Burkholder
Vice President of Sales & Engineering
Derek Burkholder holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and is Vice President of Engineering & Sales at Casso Solar. Previously holding the title of Engineering Manager, Derek draws upon over a decade of industry knowledge to write extensively about the construction & application of heating systems such as industrial ovens, dryers, furnaces, and infrared heaters for industrial manufacturing processes.