What is Magnetic Induction Heating?
Induction is a “non-contact” heating process. By applying a high-frequency alternating current to an induction coil, a time-varying magnetic field is generated. The material to be heated, something we call a susceptor, is placed inside the magnetic field, without touching the coil. The alternating electromagnetic field induces ‘eddy currents’ in the susceptor, which then heat the susceptor.
Our susceptor is made of a ferrous metal. Ferrous metals are heated by induction more easily than other materials. That is because, in addition to the ‘eddy currents’ described above, another heating mechanism occurs. The material’s iron crystals are magnetized and demagnetized over and over by the alternating magnetic field. This causes the magnetic domains to flip rapidly back and forth, leading to ‘hysteresis losses,’ which result in heat.
Induction is Clean
Induction heating takes place without physical contact between the susceptor and induction coil. This lends it to processes where a high degree of cleanliness is paramount, such as in vaping. Because there is no combustion that typically results in the production of unwanted particles and soot, or otherwise requires cleaning after heating – induction is ideal for parts that require clean heating, such as in vaporizers.
Induction is Precise
Induction heating is particularly useful where highly repetitive, precise operations are performed – like vaping continuously. Once an induction vaporizer is properly adjusted, each susceptor is heated with identical results. By adjusting the magnetic field, heating temperatures and heating profiles can be customized for best use.
Induction is Energy Efficient
Another desirable characteristic of induction heating is its ability to target heat to a small part or the device. This advantage is critical in parts of the device that experience “high-wear,” such as the wick and heating element. Typically, these materials would not withstand the wear of operation, and would need to be replaced. With induction, these same materials can achieve the durability required without compromising on functionality.
Induction heating utilizes magnetic fields that are permeable through glass or other materials, isolating the heating element. For those of you who have ever cooked on an induction stove, you know the experience of boiling a pot of water even as the surface of the stove stays cool to the touch where it’s not touching the heating element, the pot. The same process is at play in the Loto Labs.
Induction is Fast
A properly tuned induction vaporizer can process high part volumes per minute by utilizing efficient coil design. This makes induction heating very rapid.
What is Resistive Heating?
Resistive heating, also known as ohmic heating or Joule heating, is the process by which the passage of an electric current through a conductor releases heat. Whenever an electric current flows through a material that has some resistance, the material will heat – the result of “friction” created by collisions involving electrons at the sub-atomic level; informal terminology, the heat corresponds to the work done by the electrons as they travel to a lower potential energy state.
Most vaporizers use this resistive heating method to vaporize material. The typical arrangement includes a resistive wire, a battery, and a wick. The battery creates an electric current that passes through the resistive wire. The wire gets hot and transfers its heat to a wick soaked in the desired material, resulting in an inhalable aerosol.
The Limitations of Resistive Heating
While resistive heating is a viable application to vaporizing, it comes with serious limitations. First, the act of continuously heating the resistive wire causes the wire to degrade and eventually break. In the process, the wire experiences excess temperatures that result in burning, and the production of unwanted particles in the aerosol. Second, the heating element in a resistive heating vaporizer – the wire – is directly in contact with the wick soaked in material. As the wire reaches excess temperatures, it also burns the wick, resulting in more unwanted aerosol particles.
The end result of applying resistive heating to a vaporizer is a device that reaches excess temperatures, delivers a polluted aerosol with an unsavory flavor, and one that constantly breaks down and needs replacement.