High Power-Density Plane-Surface Heating Element

Case ID:


Conventional flat-plate heating elements consist of a resistive element that is encapsulated in electrical insulation. With application of electrical power, current flows in the resistive element, generating heat. The resistive element temperature rises and heat is conducted across the insulation. At high power-density, the low thermal conductance of the insulation causes the resistive element to reach unacceptably high temperatures, and this limits performance. Consequently, power densities are generally limited to less than 50W/cm2 surface area.


The High Power-Density Plane-Surface Heating Element is a compact, flat device that circumvents the issue of conduction across low thermal conductivity electrical insulation such that there is only a relatively small temperature rise of device components. It allows for at least an order of magnitude increase in power density (>500W/cm2). The device is fabricated from readily available materials using established processes. The plan-area size and shape can range from mm-scale to ˜100cm2.

Advantages and Features

Order of Magnitude (10X) increase in performance over existing technology

Simple, robust architecture

  • Heating System = heating element + power supply + power controller
  • Variable size and plan form shape, up to ˜100cm2
  • Tunable voltage/current ratio (DC or AC)
  • Bondable external surface (adhesive or braze)
  • Tolerant to harsh environments
  • No hazardous materials or pollutants
  • Receptive to guard heater architecture (unidirectional heat flow)

Straightforward fabrication


An economical and environmentally friendly alternative to:

  • Complex burner gas (flame heating) systems
  • High-temperature radiant systems
  • Laser irradiation systems


Available for licensing. UNR is seeking expressions of interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize this technology.

Intellectual Property


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ray Siripirom
Senior Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
Richard Wirtz
Sean Penley