Flexible Heating Solution Prevents Frost Caused by Cryogenic Liquids

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The Challenge
Cryogenics means "the production of icy cold"; a synonym for the low-temperature state. The customer had an application in which the piping (at cryogenic temperatures) formed ice, which is a very poor heat conductor. Typical materials that employed radiant, convection, and submerged exhaust heating proved to be mostly unreliable since they became brittle and cracked at these extremely low temperatures. While these types of heaters proved useful in the past, the customer now demanded higher efficiency in new designs. The new heating design had to employ a well-insulated cryogenic jacket, cryogenic connectors, and quick change fasteners. All of this on a very long piping system consisting of multiple bends and varying sub-lengths.

The Solution
The Chromalox technical team came up with Kapton® heater design features that fit each custom segment for an improved capability to heat cryogenic liquids and get rid of frost buildup over the length of the piping system. We also took advantage of key features of superconductivity in our thermal calculations for efficiency and energy transfer. The Kapton heaters were designed with a custom super- efficient cryogenic insulation (much thinner and more efficient) and quick change features for easy individual heater replacement as needed. And lastly, the fit and function of the Kapton heaters allowed for superior thermal transfer and quick response.

The Benefits
The custom cryogenic-line Kapton heater features exceeded the customer’s expectations. There were no problems with controlling cost, excellent thermal profile consistency, and an increase from 68% to 93% in thermal transfer efficiency. The customer stated; “the new designs and features gave them a substantial state of the art improvement over past designs”. We even gave them some ideas for future design changes that should increase their efficiency to 98%. This is a typical example of how Chromalox offers new innovative world class cost saving solutions to exceed customer needs.