THEORY OF INFRARED HEATING
The Theory of Infrared heating operates through the principle of thermal radiation, mirroring the way the sun emits infrared rays. These rays, traveling an impressive distance of approximately 150 million kilometers through the vast, cold expanse of space, reach the Earth’s surface. Upon arrival, they are absorbed by various objects, transforming into heat.
Before delving deeper, here’s a concise executive overview of the subsequent content.
MEDIUMWAVE AND LONGWAVE: THE OPTIMAL WAVELENGTHS
Both mediumwave and longwave infrared wavelengths boast excellent properties, including high absorbency and minimal reflection. Notably, their radiation doesn’t penetrate deeply into the skin, making them ideal for comfort heating. These wavelengths, especially when compared to shortwave technology, are considerably more efficient. The characteristics of mediumwave and longwave make them the superior choice for radiant comfort heating.
THE INTENSITY OF SHORTWAVE
Shortwave infrared heaters operate at extremely high temperatures, producing intense heat. While the heat from a shortwave infrared heater might feel warmer from a distance of 2-3 meters, most of it is reflected and not absorbed by humans. It’s essential to note that “warmer” doesn’t necessarily equate to “more comfortable” or “more efficient.” Much of the energy from shortwave heaters is lost due to strong light emission, reflection, and low absorption. However, in windy conditions, the intensity of shortwave infrared heaters might be preferable as they can counteract the cooling effects of gusty winds more effectively than their longwave or mediumwave counterparts.
OPRANIC’S INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY
Opranic offers a diverse range of infrared heaters tailored to various needs and applications. For outdoor comfort heating, we suggest our proprietary mediumwave technology (either Classic or IR-X), which peaks at a wavelength of 2.4μm. This technology emits a gentle glow and fulfills the criteria for a high-quality infrared heater designed for human warmth. For spaces with minimal air exchange, such as indoors or sealed rooms, we recommend our longwave radiation (IR-C). While longwave radiation is suitable for comfort heating, its heat intensity is somewhat diminished due to its lower temperature, making it less effective against the cooling impact of air currents.
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OPRANIC’s Guide to the THEORY OF INFRARED HEATING: Principles and Benefits
The three ways of heat
Heat can be transferred between objects in three primary ways: conduction, convection, and radiation.
Conduction involves the direct transfer of thermal energy between two materials in contact. This process seeks to balance out temperature differences between the two materials. Convection is the heat transfer resulting from temperature variations within a fluid, such as a liquid or gas. It’s often described as the energy exchange between an object and the surrounding air. Radiation, on the other hand, is the direct transfer of radiant energy from the emitting source to an object, bypassing the need for any intermediary medium. Similar to visible light, radiant energy travels directly from its source to the target, without directly heating the air in between.
EXPLORING INFRARED RADIATION with OPRANIC
The electromagnetic spectrum encompasses all potential frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. This spectrum includes gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared rays, microwaves, and radio waves. Just as the sun emits energy, radiant heat energy is also released in the form of electromagnetic waves within the infrared band. This band is adjacent to the visible light band on the electromagnetic spectrum. OPRANIC’s infrared heating devices operate based on these same principles.
THE VERSATILITY OF OPRANIC’S INFRARED HEATING
Infrared heating, leveraging the power of radiant heat transfer, initiates heating from the ground up, rather than starting at the ceiling. This characteristic makes OPRANIC’s infrared heaters a cost-effective and efficient solution for various environments, from warehouses and storage spaces to vast industrial structures.
When designed optimally, an OPRANIC infrared heating system can offer a plethora of advantages, including a significant reduction in energy usage. Independent research has highlighted fuel savings ranging from 20% to 50% when juxtaposed with traditional warm air systems. OPRANIC infrared heaters stand out as a flexible heating solution, especially beneficial for challenging heating scenarios. They have demonstrated efficacy in spaces with high air infiltration, structures with towering ceilings, or in situations where targeted heating is desired.
Infrared wavelengths are categorized based on their temperature ranges and wavelengths, measured in microns. The operating temperature of a heater’s filament indicates the type of infrared heater it belongs to. The appropriate type of heating radiation must be chosen based on the target material since different materials have varying absorption levels. If the infrared heating radiation isn’t suitable, only a fraction of the heat radiation is absorbed, while the rest is either wasted or reflected.
Shortwave (also known as IR-A or Near Infrared)
- Wavelengths: 0.78 – 1.4μm
- Shortwave infrared heaters operate within the range of 780 nm to 1,400 nm.
- They emit temperatures ranging from 1300°C to 2600°C and produce a bright visible light.
- Typically, the emitters are Quartz tubes filled with halogen gas, accompanied by a reflector to direct the heat.
Mediumwave (also known as IR-B)
- Wavelengths: 1.4 – 3.0μm
- Mediumwave infrared heaters function between 1,400 nm and 3,000 nm.
- They emit temperatures from 500°C to 1300°C and produce a dim red light.
- The emitters are often made of Quartz and come with a reflector to focus the heat in a specific direction.
Longwave (also known as IR-C or Far Infrared)
- Wavelengths: 3.0 – 1000μm
- Longwave infrared heaters operate at wavelengths above 3,000 nm.
- These heaters emit much lower temperatures, typically between 100°C and 500°C, and do not produce visible light.
ABSORPTION OF INFRARED RADIATION BY OPRANIC
Materials vary in their heat absorption capacities based on their composition and thickness. For an infrared heater, like those offered by OPRANIC, to provide a comfortable, efficient, and natural heating experience, it’s crucial to select the appropriate infrared heating technology. Factors such as the nature of the target material, the distance between the heater and the target, and the duration of heat exposure play a pivotal role in determining the right type of infrared heater.
HUMAN ABSORPTION WITH OPRANIC
Humans are composed of roughly 80% water. For optimal comfort heating, it’s essential for an infrared heater, like OPRANIC’s range, to be fine-tuned to emit wavelengths that water absorbs most efficiently and reflects the least. The graph below illustrates the relationship between wavelength and the absorption of infrared radiation by water. This indicates that IR-B and IR-C, which are longer wavelengths above 2.0μm, are more readily absorbed by human skin, leading to more effective human heating through these medium and long wave bands. While heaters emitting IR-A can still warm the skin, they are less efficient due to reduced absorption capabilities.
REFLECTIVITY AND OPRANIC’S TECHNOLOGY
Another unique trait of human skin is its ability to reflect specific wavelengths as a natural protective measure. Reflectance levels for IR-A, IR-B, and IR-C reveal that IR-A has high reflectance, whereas IR-B and IR-C exhibit significantly lower reflectance. This suggests that while IR-A intensely strikes the skin, most of its radiation is reflected away, resulting in wasted energy. In contrast, the wavelengths of IR-B and IR-C (mediumwave and longwave) are predominantly absorbed and minimally reflected by the skin, making them ideal for efficient comfort heating.
PENETRATION DEPTH AND OPRANIC’S SAFETY STANDARDS
Another vital aspect to consider is the penetration depth of these wavelengths into the skin. The diagram indicates that shortwave lengths delve deep into the skin’s sub-layers. Despite the skin’s natural defense mechanisms, which include reduced absorption and high reflectance against shortwave radiation, the intense radiation from shortwave heaters can penetrate deeply, potentially accelerating the skin’s aging process. On the other hand, medium and longwave radiation wavelengths from OPRANIC heaters don’t penetrate as deeply, making them a safer choice that’s less detrimental to the skin’s aging process.