The Wonderful Process of Heating

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The process of heating  is vital to nearly all manufacturing processes. Supplying of heat is needed to produce basic materials and commodities. According to the US  Department of Energy (DOE), heating processes consume about 5.2 quadrillion Btu of energy annually, which accounts for nearly 17% of all industrial energy used.

Electricity-based process heating systems (sometimes called electrotechnologies) are used to perform operations such as heating, drying and curing.

There are four basic types of heat treatment in use today : annealing, normalizing, hardening and tempering.

Subjecting a substance to higher than normal temperatures leads to obtaining the desired properties. Cooking is heat processing in which bacteria in food are killed and flavor, consistency and texture is enhanced.

Measurement of heat is done in calories. One calory is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water one degree Celsius . To measure heat, you divide the change in temperature of a sample of water by the mass of the water.

Because we must add heat, boiling water is a process that chemists call endothermic. Clearly, if some processes require heat, others must give off heat when they take place. These are known as exothermic.

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COMBIPAC - Automatic Fuel Feeding Boiler
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Annealing is a heat treatment process which alters the microstructure of material to change its mechanical or electrical properties. Typically, in steel, annealing is used to reduce hardness, increase ductility and help eliminate internal stresses.

Annealing and normalizing are the primary processes which come under the category of heat treatment of steel. Tempering is a secondary treatment which is done after the primary processes of heat treatment. Quenching is the cooling of the material from the higher temperature of the room temperature.

The term endothermic process describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from its surroundings. Usually, but not always, it happens in the form of heat. The opposite of an endothermic process is an exothermic process, one that releases, “gives out” energy in the form of heat.

Quench hardening is a mechanical process in which steel and cast iron alloys are strengthened and hardened. These metals consist of ferrous metals and alloys. This produces a harder material by either surface hardening or through hardening varying on the rate at which the material is cooled.

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ENERBLOC Internals - Thermic Fluid Heater
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Case-hardened steel is formed by diffusing carbon (carburization), nitrogen (nitriding) and/or boron (boriding) into the outer layer of the steel at high temperature, and then heat treating the surface layer to the desired hardness. Time and temperature determines how deep into the surface the hardening extends.

Then the question is whether thermal  energy  and heat is the same thing?  Well, thermal energy does not transfer from high thermal energy to low thermal energy. Thermal energy is the internal energy of an object, the kinetic energy of all of the atoms and molecules in the object. Heat flows from the point of higher temperature to the point of lower temperature. The heat content of an object depends upon its specific heat and its mass.

Thermal engineering is a study of energy transfer, which can be considered as the energy which is transferred by conservative forces over a distance and that is measured as the work the source system does on the receiving system.  This transport is particularly in nanoscale. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. Thermal engineering is thus the obtaining of knowledge and understanding of the scientific effects of their discoveries on the industrial energy applications. This thermal engineering concerns heat transfer, thermodynamics, energy conversion and HVAC applications – which stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

Then finally I want to touch on combustion. This is a chemical process in which fuel reacts with an oxidant to give out heat. The release of heat can produce light in the form of flame, namely in the case of a rocket.

I can’t help to wonder what if we as earthly beings didn’t have the capacity to create all the above from and into -  HEAT!

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