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What is a resistant heater element wire?

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Quick Answer

A resistant heater element wire is the component of a resistant heating system that heats when connected to electricity. The amount of resistance generated by the wire influences the intensity of the heat produced.

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Full Answer

The amount of resistance created by a resistant heater element wire can be calculated by taking the number of electric volts divided by the number of amps in the system. This number identifies the amount of resistance the electricity encounters.

The higher the amount of resistance, the hotter the wire becomes when electricity is flowing through the system. However, if the resistance is too great, no electricity can flow through the wire, preventing any heat from being generated. This has to be avoided in devices such as heaters.

Resistant wires are used in heaters, toasters and coffee makers. The wires are often packaged as either a simple series of wires or as a series of metal ribbons. These are either coiled tightly together or configured as flat strips.

Different types of metals are used in resistant heater element wire, including Nichrome, Kanthal (FeCrAl) and cupronickel (CuNi). Nichrome is most commonly used in heaters because it is easy to work with, is rust resistant and does not expand much when heated.

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