Positive Temperature Coefficient

What are PTC Heaters?

12 Volt PTC Heaters

PTC Heaters for 12 Volt Circuits Positive temperature coefficient heaters (PTC) are ideal for small places requiring 12 Volt AC/DC power. These micro heaters work at a constant temperature, not requiring additional temperature controls, minimizing circuit components. 12 Volt PTC heaters come in surface, air, or fan heater configurations.  The small PTC ceramic heating element is embedded in the heat conductive case and prewired for connections to the 12-volt circuit.   How does the PTC heater work? The ceramic heating element inside the heater is made by compressing ceramic materials blended for specific characteristics and temperature.  The positive temperature coefficient...

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How PTC Heating Element Technology Works

PTC heating elements have several advantages over other types of heating elements. For example, they are much more efficient than resistive heating elements since they only produce heat to the desired temperature and minimize the current or power requirements.

PTC heating elements also have an automated feature that prevents them from overheating. The resistance of the material increases as the temperature rises, which in turn decreases the current flowing through the heating element.  

Find out why!

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PTC Convection Heater

Heaters utilizing convection to conduct heat from a heated surface into the surrounding air is one of the least complicated ways to heat electrical enclosures and spaces conducive to heat convection.

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What is a Surface Heater?

What is a PTC Surface Heater? A surface heater comprises a heating element designed to conduct heat directly to the surface of an object or material.  Contact heater is also a term used when referring to a heating element in direct contact with a surface. “Surface refers to the outer face, outside, or exterior boundary of a thing; outermost or uppermost layer or area. Or any face of a body or a thing.” “Contact as a noun refers to the act or state of touching, immediate proximity, or association. As a verb to bring into contact.”   A flange heater...

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Positive Temperature Coefficient Heating Elements

How does the PTC heating element work?

PTC heating technology is unique in the family of electrical heating systems.  As current passes through the ceramic element, the resistance to the current produces heat, just as in resistive wire heaters. 

A PTC heating element or positive temperature coefficient heating element is composed of advanced ceramic material or ceramic stones with a small amount of barium titanate.  The doping procedure sets the maximum temperature of the ceramic component and provides the PTC characteristics.

The temperature operating range of the positive temperature coefficient PTC heaters is 40 degrees C to 220 degrees or 104 degrees F - 428 degrees F.  Keep in mind that is the temperature of the actual ceramic heating element.

When the heat rises in the heater, the resistance also increases logarithmically. This fast-rising resistance curve reduces the current going through the heater and the resultant heat.  

The PTC ceramic heating elements are embedded in heat transfer materials that isolate the voltage and current from external contact and efficiently transfer the heat to other materials or air.

PTC air heater, aluminum honeycomb or v patterned structures are set between conductive bars containing the heating element.  These structures are placed in ductwork where the air flows to transfer heat to the air stream.

PTC fan heaters are used for similar purposes in vehicles where a separate fan isn’t practical or available to transfer heat to compartments.

PTC convection heaters are used in electrical enclosures and other applications where there can be natural convection of air passing through the heating elements fin structure.  

PTC surface heaters also have an aluminum fin structure that is attached directly to the surface of the object to be heated. 


PTC immersion heaters or cartridge heaters have the ceramic heater embedded in heat transfer material inside a round or square tube of stainless steel that is inserted into the side of a container with contents to be heated.

Call our team of thermal management specialists.  You will talk with an engineer that is very familiar with all of the devices available and can walk you through finding the proper PTC heating device for your application.

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