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Electrothermal Electromantles Give you Peace of Mind on Safety

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 by Electrothermal

Electrothermal pioneered the UK's market for heating mantles, producing the first British-made heating mantle way back in 1943.

Prior to this era, heating in chemical laboratories was potentially very dangerous, since open flame gas burners and electric glow coils were commonly used to heat oil, sand, molten metal, and water baths.

Despite widespread safety concerns, heating baths are still in common usage today. They remain inherently dangerous as the hot fluid they contain is liable to be spilled or spattered should water be accidentally introduced, and a hot bath is very difficult to deal with in an emergency situation.

Oil and water baths have the added hazard of having an electrical heat source in close proximity with a hot liquid, and since bath fluids expand upon heating, overflows are another potential pitfall. In addition, should the bath material be heated above its flash point, a fire and/or explosion could occur.

Electrothermal have always put safety at the forefront of our considerations, as shown by the early fire tests that were performed back in 1948 and demonstrated the high fire resistance of our Electromantles even in those days.

Today, with almost 70 years of experience in manufacturing heating mantles, Electrothermal can confidently state that our mantles are not only an excellent long-term investment for your laboratory, they are also safe and reliable, being especially ideal for multi-user laboratories in universities and schools.

Key safety features

  • Shock-proof- the combination of an earthed screen and double fuses help protect the user from electric shocks in the event of a liquid spillage or flask breakage
  • Cool to touch- outer casing remains cool-to-touch due to specially designed air ventilation channels beneath the outer casing. This means that they can be picked up without injury even when the heating element is on full at 450°C
  • Chemically resistant- you have a choice of polypropylene or powder-coated aluminium outer casing, both of which have excellent resistance to chemicals
  • Minimal risk of contamination- outer casing can readily be kept clean, removing any harmful chemicals by simply wiping with a clean cloth when the Electromantle has cooled
  • Hard-wearing and durable- Electrothermal Electromantles are built to last and we have several examples of customers using our Electromantles daily for 30 years or so
  • Rubber feet prevent slippage in use
  • Clamps encourage the use of support rods to keep round-bottom flasks or funnels securely in place and reduce the risk of spillage CE marked
  • CSA approved for some 115V CMU models.

Fire safety in chemical laboratories

Fire safety is a major issue for all chemical laboratories and acknowledging this, the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry published a report on "Fire Safety in Chemical Laboratories" on the 28th February 2008. Its key findings were that:

  • Between 1997-2007, there were 25 serious fires in UK laboratories each of which incurred losses in excess of £13 million (Source: Fire Protection Association)
  • Of these fires, 12 were in schools, 11 in universities and 2 in industry
  • The known causes of fires included arson (36%), electrical faults (16%) and heat sources (16%)

Experimenting with danger

Similarly, in October 2011, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) brought out a safety video entitled "Experimenting with danger" that highlights dangerous practice, drawing upon an extensive list of accidents in US academic institutions.

The CSB has collected preliminary data on 120 explosions, fires, and chemical releases at university laboratories and other research facilities that occurred across the US since 2001, causing deaths, serious injuries, and extensive property damage.

Heating sources remain a key fire source, and all laboratories should remain vigilant on fire safety, even those with the highest academic credentials. Electrothermal believe that we provide the best and most reliable heating mantles in the world, with an exemplary safety record of some 70 years to back this up. Why take chances?