The viscosity of oils and hydrocarbons varies
widely with type and temperature. Since highly
viscous liquids transfer heat poorly, sheath
watt densities and operating temperatures are
critical in oil heating applications. As a general
rule, regular oil heaters rated 20-23 W/in2 are
recommended for heating light weight oils
(SAE 10 to SAE 30). For medium weight oils
(gear oils, etc.), 12-15 W/in2 are suggested.
Bunker C, tar, asphalt and other highly viscous
oils may require 6-8 W/in2 or less to prevent
carbonization, particularly if not under fl owing
conditions. Some oils may have additives
that will boil off or carbonize at very low watt
densities. When oils of this type are encountered,
a watt density test is recommended to
determine a satisfactory watt density. The following
charts provide guidance and suggested
watt densities for various oils.
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