Rogers Corporation, a global leader of high-performance engineering materials, has introduced a new water-resistant substrate for flexible (flex) heater applications, the ARLON. Available for use in a vast range of industries, the new substrate is designed to improve performance and reliability of both etched-foil and wire-wound flex heaters, particularly those operating in high moisture or underwater environments.
Instead of the fiberglass fabric typically used in flex-heater substrates, Rogers’ new ARLON 34C36 water-resistant substrate combines high performance silicone with layers of Rogers’ own DeWAL polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film. As PTFE is hydrophobic and will not wick water, the new substrate remains robust and durable in wet environments. Fiberglass fabric, on the other hand, is hydrophilic and wicks water, allowing moisture to seep into the heater through exposed fibers. Flexible heaters made of the new ARLON substrate will function better in wet environments that could, otherwise, be at risk of inefficient heating or mechanical failure.
The ARLON 34C36 waterproof flex-heater substrate combines the PTFE film with uncured silicone on one side, and cured silicone on the other. The substrate is available in both 20 mil (0.508 mm) and 30 mil (0.762 mm) thicknesses. As with all ARLON flex-heater substrates, the new substrate is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) recognized for relative thermal index (RTI) ratings up to 220°C (428°F), flammability ratings for horizontal burn (UL94 HB), and the highest resistance to vertical burn (UL94 V-0) for electrical insulation of flexible heaters.
Rogers offers a full line of ARLON silicone rubber/fiberglass fabric flex-heater substrates. These composites operate reliably and offer long service life under most environmental conditions. The offerings are also available with pre-bonded resistive foils, such as Alloy 600 and stainless steel, to eliminate the initial bonding step from the flexible heater manufacturers’ process. Utilizing pre-bonded resistive foils also enables the flexible heater manufacturer to process the material in continuous roll-to-roll rather than piece-by-piece to realize reduced costs.