A ceramic heating element is a resistive piece of ceramic, often treated with a metallic coating. The ceramic heating element creates heat based on resistance to electrical flow through the ceramic element. This is done to provide heat to a room or other area via convection or forced air.
Ceramic heating elements are preferable in many ways to wire heating elements or other bare metal elements. They typically last longer and provide more even heat than a wire heating element. Wire heating elements will eventually burn up and cease to produce heat, and may potentially cause a fire if they come into contact with flammable materials.
One benefit of a ceramic heating element is that it may more evenly distribute heat during operation. This allows for more of the heat created by the resistance of the electricity to be distributed to the room or area being heated rather than being lost to waste. In addition, ceramic elements do not get as hot as metal wire filament elements, and so they are less likely to cause burns if they are inadvertently contacted. They are also less likely to cause accidental fires from contact with flammable materials in their environments.
Another benefit of ceramic heating elements is that they are typically more durable than traditional wire filament heating elements, which generally become brittle after a number of heating cycles and which may crack or break and cause the heater to not work. A ceramic heating element can withstand tens of thousands of heating and cooling cycles without the potential for cracking or breaking, unless it is subjected to extreme stress such as a drop or a direct hit from a foreign object. For this reason, ceramic heaters are often used in homes where they will not receive a lot of maintenance or gentle care.
One final benefit of ceramic heating elements is their cost. They are easy to manufacture and distribute, and because they are also a better method than traditional heating elements, they have become very popular in low cost heaters sold on the mass market for public or private consumption. Ceramic heating elements can provide a better quality and durability for the cost, as well as a better, more consistent and even heating across the board. Due to these features, it has become common to find a ceramic heating element used in various heating systems.