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Commercial Research: Characterisation of Electric Radiant Heaters

Commercial Research: Characterisation of Electric Radiant Heaters

Sarah Nangle-Smith, Mechanical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin

This company sponsored project, involved the characterisation of electric radiant heaters with respect to the quality and quantity of heat output. Using this information, the heaters could be compared, efficiencies could be defined and further improvements in application specific design could be undertaken.


Since radiant heat is governed by Planck’s Law, the emitted power is associated with a specific wavelength range. Research has shown that some wavelength bands are more ‘comfortable’ to be exposed from a heating perspective. In this project, the ‘quality’ of heat output was determined using spectrometers and infrared detectors.

Electric Radiant Heaters


The radiant heat output from a heater was measured locally using a Vatell TG9000 radiant heat flux sensor. Each heater was scanned in 3 axes using this sensor to get a heat flux distribution that would represent the spread of the heat output from a heater. Using the TCHPC visualisation tools, we were able to show these distributions in 3D for each heater. The visualisation tools also allowed us to interpolate for values intermediate to those which were measured experimentally.