Q:

How does a catalytic heater work?

A:

Quick Answer

Catalytic heaters produce heat through flameless chemical reactions. Many space heaters are catalytic. Soldering irons and disposable chemical heat packs are also catalytic heaters. They produce heat gradually, which is a significant advantage over combustion heaters in applications requiring controlled, predictable heating.

Know More

Full Answer

According to Brad Painting of DexKnows Home Improvement, simple catalytic heaters consist of a fuel tank, a metal grate and a mesh plated with a catalyst such as platinum. As the fuel passes from the tank through the mesh, it undergoes a chemical reaction and produces heat. The metal grate absorbs the heat and radiates it out into the surrounding space, often assisted by a small fan.

Catalytic heaters have several potential power sources. The most common include alcohol, propane, lighter fluid and butane. Some catalytic heaters are safe for indoor use during power outages. However, fire safety laws restrict the type and size of the fuel tank permitted for these applications. Mr. Heater explains that in the event of a fire, failure to abide by these guidelines renders the house ineligible for fire department intervention due to the risk of a fuel tank explosion, regardless of the source of the fire.

Catalytic heaters need fresh air to function safely. The chemical reaction between the fuel and the catalyst requires plenty of oxygen. RV expert Curtis Carver frequently uses catalytic heaters while traveling and advises others to reduce the risk of suffocation by ensuring that the heater has a steady supply of fresh oxygen.

Learn more about Thermodynamics

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How hot is a propane torch?

    A:

    A propane torch can reach temperatures of up to 3,623 degrees Fahrenheit when used in the open air. The flame generated by a propane torch is made of an inner and outer flame. The inner flame is dark blue, while the outer flame is a lighter shade of blue.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does a maximum/minimum thermometer work?

    A:

    A maximum-minimum thermometer works by registering the maximum and minimum temperatures over a certain time period by using two scales set in liquid mercury. Two bulbs filled with alcohol or oil regulate the movement of the mercury.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is "work output"?

    A:

    Work output includes measures of the quality and efficiency of production by companies, people and machines. Output is often compared to input, or the cost to generate the output, to determine the potential profitability of a production process or activity.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does a steam turbine work?

    A:

    A steam turbine functions when highly pressured gaseous water, or steam, passes along the rotor through the multiple alternatively fixed and moving blades. A running generator converts the resultant kinetic energy into electrical energy. This is one of the most efficient sources of energy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore