Material Solutions for Self-Limiting Heaters

Material Solutions for Self-Limiting Heaters

Polymer thick film materials and PTC carbon resistors from DuPont are helping to enhance performance and safety for OEMs and auto drivers.

With a wide array of material solutions for self-limiting heaters, DuPont offers the most cost-effective and high-performing option for creators of self-limiting resistive-based heating systems. Auto OEMs depend on material solutions from DuPont for a wide variety of applications where low temperature, controlled thermal gradients, uniform heating and localized temperature control are crucial, without requiring complex electronic controllers or feedback loops.

The unique positive thermal coefficient of resistance (PTC) carbon compositions, coupled with high conductivity polymer thick film (PTF) silver conductors, along with industry-leading system compatibility at both substrate level (PET, PEN, polyimide) and adhesive layers deliver a self-limiting heater solution that is both reliable and simple.

The PTC carbon compositions generate resistive heat up to a specific temperature. Due to their molecular nature, they are not able to surpass this threshold. The total thermal mass of the system is determined by the shape, size, number and distribution of each individual printed heater element. Because each single resistive element is self-limiting, once the equilibrium temperature is reached, heat will only be applied where it’s necessary without complicated electronic controllers or feedback loops.

Different temperature levels are possible via simplified selector switches and heater circuit layout. Safety is always top-of-mind with respect to resistive heat systems, and PTC-based heaters are inherently safe because of the way they function at the molecular level. Aside from being self-limiting, another important feature is that the heater elements/heater mat always fail to cold independent of the failure mode.

PTC-based heater solutions can be found in many aspects of daily life.  

  • From automotive applications (such as external mirror heaters, seat heaters, etc.),
  • to structural home systems (including mirror heaters, floor heaters, bed heaters, etc.)
  • to small appliances (like rice or vegetable cookers),

PTC-based heater solutions are helping to keep people comfortable and safe.