The difference between a mikathermic heater and an infrared heater

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Since the prob­lem of heat­ing hous­ing in EU has exist­ed for many hun­dreds of years, the Euro­pean mar­ket for heat­ing equip­ment is reg­u­lar­ly replen­ished with new types of heaters, and exist­ing heat­ing devices are con­stant­ly being improved. When pur­chas­ing anoth­er heat­ing device with­out know­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the equip­ment offered by man­u­fac­tur­ers, there is a high prob­a­bil­i­ty of pur­chas­ing a device that is not func­tion­al or does not meet the exist­ing con­di­tions.

For those who, when buy­ing house­hold appli­ances, give pri­or­i­ty to new gen­er­a­tion units, let’s con­sid­er what a micather­mic heater is — a mod­ern com­pact device for home heat­ing, avail­able to a wide range of con­sumers.

House­hold heaters of mikather­mic type: on the left — dou­ble-act­ing, on the right — one-sided heat­ing.

Introduction to the mikathermic home heating device

Micather­mic infrared heater is one of the types of heat­ing devices pro­duced on the basis of recent tech­ni­cal devel­op­ments, but its pro­duc­tion has already been mas­tered by many for­eign and domes­tic enter­pris­es focused on advanced tech­nolo­gies.

Con­sumer Demand for Micather­mal Heaters quite high, so let’s take a clos­er look, what it is.

Design features

At the heart of the essence of mikather­mic units for heat­ing hous­ing lies mican­ite elec­tric heater — an infrared emit­ter made using Micather­mic tech­nol­o­gy.

Flat mican­ite (mica) infrared emit­ters with wires brought out for con­nec­tion to the elec­tri­cal net­work.

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Mican­ite is mica paper, the small­est flakes of nat­ur­al mica — a mate­r­i­al that, being a dielec­tric, has good heat resis­tance and suf­fi­cient ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty. By mix­ing mican­ite with a heat-resis­tant binder, and sub­ject­ing the result­ing mass to press­ing in molds, heat-resis­tant sheet prod­ucts of var­i­ous pro­files with dielec­tric prop­er­ties are obtained.

Mica infrared heaters of var­i­ous geom­e­try and pro­file

Mican­ite emit­ter for micather­mal infrared The heater is made as fol­lows:

  • by press­ing a mix­ture of mica paper with a heat-resis­tant binder in the form of a giv­en size, an insu­la­tor is obtained — the base of the heater;
  • coils of nichrome wire or flat resis­tive heaters, for exam­ple, Rescal or Kan­tal, are applied to the insu­la­tor, with ends con­nect­ed to the net­work;
  • on top of the heat­ing ele­ments on both sides, thin lay­ers of a mix­ture of mican­ite with a binder are applied;
  • on one of the sides of the man­u­fac­tured elec­tric heater, two addi­tion­al lay­ers of spe­cial mate­ri­als are applied — a reflec­tor and a radi­a­tion con­cen­tra­tor;
  • both sides of the heat­ing ele­ment are cov­ered with mica or a heat-resis­tant mix­ture of mican­ite with a binder;
  • For rigid­i­ty, a thin alu­minum pro­tec­tive plate is attached to the work­ing side of the mican­ite heater over mica (for effi­cient heat trans­fer, it must fit snug­ly against the plane of the mica emit­ter).
Mican­ite heaters with a pro­tec­tive alu­minum plate on the work­ing side

Impor­tant! Self-made addi­tion­al holes in mica heaters, for exam­ple, when try­ing to trans­fer the ele­ment to anoth­er device, will result in fail­ure of the micather­mal heater, since they are made only in the process of man­u­fac­tur­ing (press­ing) the emit­ter.

Val­ues ​​of the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of man­u­fac­tured mican­ite emit­ters

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The struc­ture of the mica heater ensures a uni­form tem­per­a­ture over its entire sur­face.

Device

The mican­ite heater is installed in a met­al case equipped with mesh walls that do not inter­fere with the pas­sage of infrared radi­a­tion. The body is equipped with sup­port legs or, for ease of move­ment, a com­pact plat­form on wheels.

When con­nect­ed to the net­work, the mica emit­ter enters the oper­at­ing mode in half a minute and, depend­ing on the mod­el and the set pow­er mode, heats up to a tem­per­a­ture of 200 — 400 degrees. The dis­tance between the work­ing side of the heater and the out­er pro­tec­tive grid is sev­er­al cen­time­ters, and the heater body is cov­ered from the inside with a basalt-based heat-insu­lat­ing com­po­si­tion, so its sur­face tem­per­a­ture does not rise above 60 degrees — a val­ue that is not tol­er­a­ble for hands, but safe with short-term con­tact with this plane.

In addi­tion to radia­tive ener­gy trans­fer, the oper­a­tion of micather­mal heaters is accom­pa­nied by the gen­er­a­tion of con­vec­tive flows. The share of heat trans­ferred by infrared radi­a­tion accounts for about 80% of the elec­tric­i­ty con­sumed, con­vec­tion — about 20%.

Micather­mal heaters are equipped with an auto­mat­ic shut­down device when the unit over­heats — a ther­mo­stat based on a bimetal­lic plate.

As addi­tion­al options, there may be equip­ment with an elec­tron­ic dis­play, back­lit con­trol but­tons.

Accord­ing to the direc­tion of infrared radi­a­tion, micather­mal heaters are pro­duced in three vari­eties:

  • bilat­er­al;
  • uni­lat­er­al;
  • cir­cu­lar heat­ing.

Double acting heaters

The most com­mon ver­sion of a mikather­mic heater is floor stand­ing. In a mican­ite heater, only one radi­ates — the work­ing side of the plate, there­fore, heaters of the upper seg­ment in the pow­er range are pro­duced with two flat mica radi­a­tors locat­ed par­al­lel to each oth­er — non-work­ing sur­faces inward. Such devices are flat in shape, with a mesh pro­tec­tive grille on both sides.

Micather­mic flat heater POLARIS PMH 2005 dou­ble-sided out­door ver­sion.

Impor­tant! The inten­si­ty of infrared radi­a­tion decreas­es with increas­ing dis­tance from the emit­ter, there­fore, the opti­mal effi­cien­cy of using micather­mal heaters is achieved when they are 2–3 m away from the heat­ing object.

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One-sided heating units

Such heaters have one flat mica heater in their design, oppo­site the radi­at­ing side of which a per­fo­rat­ed pro­tec­tive wall is installed in the hous­ing, and on the back side of the mikather­mic heater the out­er wall is almost con­tin­u­ous — there are only ven­ti­la­tion slots in the low­er part.

Micather­mal heater of floor place­ment of uni­lat­er­al action Slog­ger SL-1112.

Sin­gle-act­ing heaters are pro­duced for floor and wall place­ment, since the blank rear wall of the hous­ing of such devices is not sub­ject­ed to sig­nif­i­cant heat, which allows it to be placed close to inte­ri­or items or mount­ed on a build­ing enve­lope.

Bimatek PH310 wall-mount­ed mikather­mic heater with a built-in ther­mo­stat that allows you to set the tem­per­a­ture start­ing from 5 degrees Cel­sius — the min­i­mum mode to pre­vent freez­ing of the room when leav­ing for a long time (Anti-frost sys­tem).

Impor­tant! The pow­er of sin­gle-sided mikather­mic heaters is low­er than that of dou­ble-sided heat­ing devices, but the effect of two wall-mount­ed heaters, ratio­nal­ly installed in the room, is not low­er than that of one unit of the same pow­er, but wall place­ment gives a gain in space uti­liza­tion.

Micather­mic heater Air Com­fort Reetai HP1401-20TF‑B is one-sided heat­ing of uni­ver­sal place­ment — in addi­tion to wall brack­ets, it is also equipped with sup­ports for floor place­ment.

Cylindrical and oval heaters

The man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­o­gy of mican­ite heaters (press­ing) makes it pos­si­ble to man­u­fac­ture emit­ters of var­i­ous pro­files. With the devel­op­ment of tech­nolo­gies for the man­u­fac­ture of mica emit­ters, ring (tubu­lar) and semi-ring (two half-rings) heaters began to be pro­duced.

Thus, on the basis of a one-sided mica heater of an annu­lar or semi-annu­lar design with an out­ward­ly direct­ed radi­at­ing sur­face, it is pos­si­ble to pro­duce micather­mal heaters with a cylin­dri­cal or oval body.

Mikather­mic infrared heaters with ring and semi-ring emit­ters, from left to right: Polaris PMH 2484 DRC, AIC DF-HT6305P, AIC DF-HT6302P.

The ver­ti­cal lay­out of floor-stand­ing heaters allows you to save on the area of ​​​​the device in rooms with mod­est dimen­sions, in which this form of units, in addi­tion, visu­al­ly increas­es the height of the ceil­ings.

The principle of operation of a mikathermal heater

The use of this type of domes­tic heater, like oth­er infrared heaters, is based on the prop­er­ties of infrared radi­a­tion. The mican­ite heater, upon reach­ing the oper­at­ing tem­per­a­ture, begins to emit infrared waves, which on the prop­a­ga­tion path, rest­ing against obsta­cles, increase the inten­si­ty of the Brown­ian motion of mol­e­cules on their sur­face. The tran­sit medi­um (air) does not heat up, and its move­ment (drafts) does not pre­vent the prop­a­ga­tion of infrared waves.

Schemat­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the dif­fer­ence between con­vec­tive heat­ing and infrared heat­ing.

Accord­ing­ly, the tem­per­a­ture of the sur­face lay­ers of obsta­cles ris­es to a cer­tain depth, depend­ing on the wave­length of infrared radi­a­tion and its inten­si­ty, deter­mined by the tem­per­a­ture of the emit­ter. Radi­a­tion-heat­ed objects them­selves become sources of heat, which they give off to the envi­ron­ment.

Con­sid­er­ing that con­vec­tion accounts for up to 20% of the total amount of heat gen­er­at­ed by the heater, ceil­ing mount­ed mikather­mic heaters are not pro­duced.

For place­ment on the ceil­ing, units are more suit­able for which the share of heat giv­en off by con­vec­tion is min­i­mal — infrared heaters with lamp-type emit­ters (quartz, halo­gen).

Ceil­ing and wall place­ment of infrared heaters with lamp emit­ters.

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Determination of the required power of Micathermic heating devices

When choos­ing a mikather­mic heater, the basic prin­ci­ple of approx­i­mate cal­cu­la­tion of the required pow­er of the unit is used — for heat­ing 10 sq. m. area it is nec­es­sary to spend 1 kW of heat. Then, the result of the cal­cu­la­tion must be amend­ed in the form of coef­fi­cients that take into account the region and a num­ber of char­ac­ter­is­tics of the heat­ed room.

This dif­fi­cult method of deter­mi­na­tion is pre­ferred to use spe­cial tables or an online cal­cu­la­tor to cal­cu­late the pow­er of an infrared heater. Hav­ing received the exact val­ue, round it up to the near­est val­ue of the select­ed type of unit avail­able for sale.

Advantages and disadvantages of mikathermic heating devices

After get­ting acquaint­ed with the fea­tures and char­ac­ter­is­tics of this unit, the ques­tion nat­u­ral­ly aris­es, which is bet­ter — a heater for a micather­mal type or con­vec­tor. Let us briefly list the advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of a heater with a mican­ite heater.

Pros:

  • ener­gy con­sump­tion for heat­ing a unit area is low­er than that of oth­er types of IR heaters — the dif­fer­ence can be up to 30%;
  • com­pact­ness and low weight;
  • short time to enter the oper­at­ing mode — an aver­age of 1 minute;
  • rel­a­tive­ly low sur­face tem­per­a­ture of the unit, which excludes burns;
  • noise­less­ness of work;
  • lack of oxy­gen com­bus­tion fac­tor in the room air;
  • afford­abil­i­ty — from 2.50 $.

Minus­es:

  • low heat­ing inten­si­ty of inte­ri­or items when they are more than 3 m away from the emit­ter;
  • the abil­i­ty to heat only in the room where the unit is locat­ed;
  • the dif­fi­cul­ty of keep­ing it clean — through the per­fo­rat­ed walls of the heater, dust enters the heater, the com­bus­tion of which is accom­pa­nied by an unpleas­ant odor;
  • high price of top mod­els.

The ques­tion “micather­mal heater or con­vec­tor” does not have a cat­e­gor­i­cal answer, since there are sev­er­al types of heaters that ini­ti­ate con­vec­tive flows. Their char­ac­ter­is­tics are such that some para­me­ter, which is a dis­ad­van­tage in spe­cif­ic con­di­tions, may turn out to be a virtue in anoth­er sit­u­a­tion. Often only the fea­tures of heaters are called short­com­ings, the dif­fer­ence from oth­er devices that are not tak­en into account when buy­ing and do not meet the require­ments for oper­a­tion in spe­cif­ic con­di­tions.

An objec­tive answer to this ques­tion can only be giv­en in rela­tion to a par­tic­u­lar apart­ment, for which you need to pur­chase sev­er­al heat­ing devices to be com­pared.

Rules for the operation of Micathermic heaters

Since the safe­ty of their oper­a­tion is in the first place when eval­u­at­ing house­hold elec­tri­cal appli­ances, we list the rules for han­dling micather­mal heaters:

  • the use of the unit must be car­ried out in accor­dance with the attached oper­at­ing instruc­tions;
  • do not plug heaters with vis­i­ble dam­age to the hous­ing or pow­er cable into the net­work;
  • exclude the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­tact of the device with open mois­ture;
  • the heater pow­er cable must be visu­al­ly acces­si­ble;
  • it is strict­ly for­bid­den to place flam­ma­ble sub­stances in the zone of dan­ger­ous prox­im­i­ty to the unit (less than 1 m);
  • it is not allowed to place objects for dry­ing on the device;
  • do not direct the heater to inte­ri­or ele­ments that are sub­ject to defor­ma­tion under the influ­ence of ele­vat­ed tem­per­a­ture;
  • pre­vent loose mate­ri­als from enter­ing the device through the per­fo­rat­ed walls, which can cause a fire or a short cir­cuit in the inter­nal elec­tri­cal wiring;
  • to pre­vent sig­nif­i­cant inter­nal pol­lu­tion, the heater must be peri­od­i­cal­ly wiped of dust, or bet­ter, cleaned with a vac­u­um clean­er, after dis­con­nect­ing the unit from the mains and wait­ing for it to cool;
  • the use of abra­sive prod­ucts when clean­ing the hous­ing will dam­age the pro­tec­tive paint­work and cor­ro­sion of steel parts.

Conclusion

Micather­mal heaters are elec­tri­cal appli­ances con­ve­nient for domes­tic use. But as the main means for heat­ing hous­ing in the win­ter, they are suit­able only in small apart­ments. But at the begin­ning of the heat­ing sea­son and in the spring, when cold snaps are peri­od­ic, these heat­ing units will sure­ly pay back the costs of their pur­chase, pro­vid­ing the abil­i­ty to turn off the main autonomous heat­ing sys­tem based on the boil­er.

The main essence of the article

  1. Micather­mal heaters are con­ve­nient house­hold appli­ances of a line of devices using the lat­est tech­ni­cal devel­op­ments.
  2. The mican­ite heater is the main struc­tur­al ele­ment of the mikather­mal heater, which deter­mines its name. The main char­ac­ter­is­tics of the heat­ing device are due to the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the mica emit­ter.
  3. The inter­nal struc­ture and, accord­ing­ly, the pow­er of the micather­mal heater depend on the stan­dard direc­tion of IR radi­a­tion and the loca­tion of the unit: floor-mount­ed heaters have two or one mica heater, wall-mount­ed heaters have one heat­ing plate.
  4. Micather­mal heaters are devices that con­sume elec­tric­i­ty, and for safe­ty rea­sons, their oper­a­tion must be car­ried out in accor­dance with the attached instruc­tions and the rules for han­dling house­hold elec­tri­cal appli­ances.

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