Impact of PCB Ceramic Heat Plates substrate in Heat Sensitive Applications

In today’s world, there is vast development in technology. The wide use of ceramic heat plates and ceramic heat detectors is one of these developments. Also, heat plates play a significant role in the production of some electronic devices.

Without doubt, ceramics have great thermal and electrical properties. This is why they are a good material for heat plates and heat detectors. In the engineering field, ceramics are widely used when durability is a prerequisite. This article seeks to provide detailed information about ceramic heat plates.

What are Heat Plates?

Heat plates are cast-in design flat surfaces used in a myriad of applications. These plates are available in commercial pre-heaters, foodservice equipment, packaging equipment, and more. Made from bronze alloys or aluminum, they feature a tubular heating element. This element offers maximum temperature uniformity on the casting’s working surface.

Furthermore, these plates can also feature stand-alone cooling platens or integral cooling tubes. These elements help to dissipate heat and cool off devices. Also, there are various finishes you can use for the working surface of the heat plate.


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What are Ceramic Heat Plates?

Ceramic heat plates are widely used for a vast number of applications. You will find them in applications like extruder barrels and window welding machines. In PCB manufacturing, heat plates are commonly used. Manufacturers place heat plates in front of or behind PCBs.

Furthermore, these flat plates are laser machined. Ceramic helps to dissipate heat produced by PCBs over a bigger surface. Ceramic heat plates serve as a heatsink. Also, they act as a barrier or electric isolator against moisture. These plates function on the principle of heat sinking and thermal spreading.

Ceramic heat plates are sheets that feature a strong metal alloy known as Aluminum. Manufacturers use advanced production techniques to design these plates.

So, why ceramic? There are other types of heat plates based on the material type. A ceramic heat plate features ceramic as its base material. Ceramic heat plates offer a lot of benefits. The use of ceramic in heat plates offers thermal shock resistance. Also, ceramic as a material features a low coefficient of thermal expansion. Ceramic heat plates don’t change in size when exposed to high heat.

These heat plates have also got a high dielectric strength. This helps to enhance the reliability of the module. Ceramic heat plates feature reduced thermal grease pump out and wear resistance. Ceramic heat plates are mostly used in complex multilayer rigid PCB. You can also find them in flex boards where multiple hotspots are on the PCBs.

With the use of cavities or thermal via in the PCB, the heat transfers from the component to the heat plate. It then cools down the component. Also, a ceramic heat plate provides protection from chemical toxicity. These plates retain their stability under extremely high temperatures.

Features of Ceramic Heat Plates

Ceramic heat plates have got great features. Because these features are great, you can also consider them as the benefits you get from using it. These features include:

  • Great thermal shock performance
  • Strong rigid material
  • High operating temperatures
  • Hermetic barrier and zero percent water absorption
  • Lower expansion coefficient
  • High-frequency performance
  • Great thermal properties ranging from 20 to 170W/mK
  • Lightweight versus Cu

Other Facts About Ceramic Heat Plates

Ceramic heat plates that feature Alumina Nitride or Alumina Oxide are great. These plates are ideal for dissipating heat away from LED chips.

Manufacturers can design ceramic heat plates with silicon nitride using 400 mm outer diameter. Any rectangular shape or customized shape is possible within this diameter. The usual height of the plate is 5mm. The low mass of the ceramic material ensures uniform temperature distribution. Also, these features allow great precision in control and fast heating rates.

Also, compared to metal, the surface of ceramic remains flat due to low CTE. The thermal expansion remains the same even when exposed to varying temperatures. Silicon nitride offers high stress and wear resistance due to its high strength. There are heat plates that can operate in the open at about 500 degrees Celsius. You will need some technical solutions to achieve heat plates that operate at about 1000 °C.

Furthermore, ceramic heat plates can feature a square section tubular element. This element helps to enhance reliability and strength. These plates can also feature a stand-alone terminal box for high temperature use. The terminal box helps to minimize the heat around the area of the terminal. Also, these plates can feature <10 μm flatness to meet certain requirements. Ceramic heat plate prices vary. Their prices range from $3 to $20.


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Application of Ceramic Heat Plates

Ceramic heat plates enhance the efficient production of injector tubes and gas nozzles. Chemical industries make use of these plates due to the special features they offer. Ceramic heat plates are also available in armored vehicles used by the military. Also, ceramic heat plates are widely used in the manufacturing of electrical insulators. Other areas of application include:

  • Vacuum technology
  • Medical technology
  • Semiconductor processing systems
  • Machine-building
  • Soldering systems
  • Tool heating
  • Packaging machines
  • Coating systems
  • Laboratory and testing equipment

Other Types of Heat Plates – Electric Heat Plates

Electric heat plates feature ceramic heating elements for manufacturing industrial furnaces and ovens. These heat plates heat the inner chamber of an oven with great uniformity. While doing this, they insulate the exterior of industrial equipment. Electric heat plates use thermally-efficient ceramic materials and high-strength metal wiring. These help them to function at a high temperature. They can function at temperatures greater than 1200°C.

Furthermore, these plates have flat surfaces with grooves of different sizes for electrical wiring. These wires are produced from thermally conductive metal alloys like iron-chrome-aluminum. There is an external lead that provides the wires with about 14,400W. This helps to produce refractory temperature in the heating chamber of an oven.

It is crucial that electric heat plates fit with efficient leads. Some of the commonest lead styles are:

  • Twisted pairs
  • Pads or bars
  • Single conductors
  • Rods

These lead styles possess different mechanical properties. For instance, twisted pairs fold the wires back in several twists. This increases its effective cross-sectional area. You can form all of the above-mentioned leads to enhance product integration in a factory.

Also, conductive elements can produce temperatures that go beyond 1200 degrees Celsius. The electric heat plate’s insulating component must withstand this temperature. Manufacturers use high-quality refractory ceramic to produce cast electric heat plates. Refractory ceramics feature low thermal conductivity. This property allows enhanced heat radiation in a heating chamber.  Refractory ceramics also feature great surface area watt densities of the radiating surface.

Manufacturers can design electric heat plates to custom shapes. This means that users can own a custom heat plate.


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What is a Ceramic Heat Detector?

A ceramic heat detector detects any abnormal increase in temperature. We are in a world experiencing development in technology. Heat detectors are commonly used in offices, houses, and more. Some devices feature ceramic heat detectors.

It is important to know that there are several materials used for manufacturing these devices. However, some heat detectors feature ceramics. Furthermore, ceramic heat detectors offer more benefits than those designed from other materials.

Also, ceramic heat detectors play significant roles in various applications. This heat detector offers special features. The two main categories of heat detectors function differently. The rate of rise heat detector functions using two thermocouples. The fixed temperature heat detector triggers when the alloy in it changes from solid to liquid.

Furthermore, heat detectors are crucial for protecting a building. These devices are ideal for use in applications where smoke detectors aren’t ideal. For instance, smoke detectors aren’t suitable in places like lofts or garages. Also, ceramic heat detectors can work perfectly in places that store chemicals.

Each of these devices can cover a 5-meter squared area. However, you can connect about 20 heat detectors in a particular circuit. This is possible if there is a range of about 100 meters.

Why Ceramics?

Ceramics comprise metalloids and non-metals with ionic bonds. Generally, ceramics are porcelain, brick, and earthenware. Ceramics have been widely used in several applications since their discovery. These solid materials are ideal for use in corrosive environments. Also, they can tolerate high temperatures without changing their properties.

Furthermore, ceramics are an ideal option for heat detectors where durability is a factor. Advanced ceramics are well-suited where you need to improve requirements of thermal properties.  Ceramics in heat detectors should be durable and have high-temperature tolerance.

Types of Heat Detectors

Heat detectors are available in different types. This classification depends on how they operate.

Electronic heat detectors

This heat detector features a thermistor that functions as a heat-sensitive element. A thermistor is a resistor triggered when a sudden change in temperature occurs. Furthermore, these detectors can function in a fixed rate or rise detector or a fixed temperature detector.

Electro-mechanical heat detector

It functions when there is a creation of an electrical circuit by a mechanical movement. Electro-mechanical heat detectors are available in four types.

  • The first type features a thermostat that comprises a bimetallic strip. This strip is a crucial part of the electrical circuit. There is an alarm when a metal strip completes the circuit.
  • The second type is a fusible link that features eutectic alloy. This alloy is a combination of different metals. The alloy’s melting point is less than the individual metal. The eutectic alloy transforms from solid to liquid when the temperature around the device increases.
  • The third type of heat detector features a heat sensitive wire. This wire stretches between two points. A pulley wheel wraps around an end of the wire. The weight at the wire’s end maintains the tension of the wire. This wire increases and the weight reduces when the outside temperature rises.
  • The fourth type is the line-type heat detector. This device comes with two-twisted-insulated electrical conductors concealed in a covering. The insulator will melt when the heat suddenly increases. It will melt to a liquid state and the conductor will complete the electrical circuit.

Electro-pneumatic heat detector

This was originally manufactured in 1941. An electro-pneumatic heat detector features a narrow vented chamber. This chamber comprises a small diaphragm. This element moves when pressure transforms according to the temperature outside.

Furthermore, the diaphragm slowly moves when the temperature outside goes beyond the predetermined rate. It moves to complete a circuit. These detectors are more popular because they function at different temperature ranges.


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Opto-mechanical heat detector

This is an updated version of the fourth type of electromechanical heat detector. It features optic cables that separate due to a heat sensitive insulator. Light passes via the optic cable. When the temperature suddenly rises, the insulator changes. In this case, the insulator transforms from liquid and distorts the light beam. The heat detector monitors this distortion.

Typical Applications of Ceramic Heat Detectors

Heat detectors are ideal for use in several applications. You can use then in areas where smoke detectors aren’t ideal. For instance, attics might feature more dust particles. Also, kitchens have smoke and the likes. A smoke detector is an ideal option in cases like this.

Furthermore, ceramic heat detectors are the best buy due to the benefits they offer. It is crucial to understand that these devices aren’t designed to save lives. They only go off when they detect something burning. Heat detectors aren’t safety devices. They detect heat generated by combustion.

These devices are widely used in areas with a high risk of high flames and intense heat. Therefore, you can easily find them in garages or places that store flammable chemicals.


The use of ceramic heat plates has a positive impact in some devices. Also, ceramic heat plates are flat surfaces that spread heat produced by the circuit. You will find these plates in front of PCBs. Ceramic heat plates act as an electrical isolator against moisture. They provide protection against chemical hazards and remain stable in varying temperatures.

Furthermore, ceramic heat detectors are commonly used in today’s world. This is because of their sensitivity in detecting heat. These devices feature great thermal and electrical properties.

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