When it comes to drying ovens, many lab owners prefer using a forced air oven compared to other types of lab ovens. Not only does it surpass the overall performance of other drying ovens, but it’s also the more cost-efficient choice if you’re operating on a limited budget.
Read on to learn what a forced air oven is and how it differs from other types of drying ovens.
What is a Forced Air Oven?
Also known as a hot air oven or mechanical convection oven, a forced air drying oven evenly distributes heat inside the compartment. The fan inside continuously circulates the hot air, heating all areas of the item uniformly.
The built-in fan also provides faster heating and drying time, which is a significant advantage for materials testing labs that process high volumes of samples daily.
Forced Air Oven Vs. Gravity Convection Oven
In many ways, a forced air oven is the more efficient choice compared to a gravity convection oven.
The latter is generally more affordable than the former because it doesn’t have a fan. Instead, it relies on the natural rising of hot air to heat samples. However, the problem with this heating method is that hot air loses heat energy as it rises. This can lead to uneven heating or drying, creating cold spots on the object that can compromise output quality.
A forced air drying oven doesn’t have this problem because the fan prevents cold spots from forming. Thus, you can dry your samples uniformly and according to their requirements.
Advantages of Forced Air Ovens
Below are some of the advantages of using a forced air oven:
- Get even heating throughout the entire process
Since the fan inside evens out heating, there are lower chances of cold or hot spots developing in different areas of the chamber. So, you can expect your samples to dry uniformly, even on the inside.
- Faster heating and drying development
Items placed inside the forced air oven pick up heat faster because they’re always in contact with hot air. This dries them out quicker compared to if you used a gravity convection oven.
- Get faster temperature recovery
Hot air ovens also offer faster temperature recovery compared to basic drying ovens. This lets you use the heated items almost instantly since they cool down quickly.
- Kills bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms
The hot air that passes inside the chamber can kill most disease-carrying pathogens. The heat can also penetrate deeply into thicker objects, so you get an in-depth sterilization effect even for packaged items.
- No toxic agents involved
Using a forced air lab oven requires no toxic agent to operate. This means there will also be no trace of harmful substances that can harm the people in the lab or the environment.
Functions of Forced Air Ovens
Different lab processes utilize forced air drying ovens. Here are some of them:
- Drying or dehydrating
A forced air drying oven can efficiently remove moisture from the chamber—the more air in the chamber, the faster the drying process. You can also adjust the drying rate through the exhaust ports built into the equipment.
Forced air ovens can be used for dry heat sterilization processes to eliminate germs and harmful bacteria on items. The process does not involve any additional cleaning agents, making the operation of the machinery safe and protecting the samples from contamination.
- Burn-in of electrical components
Burn-in refers to the process of heating electronic components to ensure their reliability. Using a forced lab oven for this process lets you detect signs of failure in electronic parts by running a power supply through them for a set period.
- Baking and curing
Heating samples to alter their properties without dehydrating them is simple with a forced air oven. This is done by adjusting the exhaust ports to control the level of heat inside the chamber.
High-Quality Lab Drying Ovens
Drying is a basic process performed in different kinds of research labs. As such, you need to select a drying oven that gives you high-quality drying performance but doesn’t cost too much to operate.