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Benefits of Using Molten Salts for Process Heating

by Uneeb Khan
Industrial Process Heaters

With multiple types of salts available, molten salts are one of those which are highly used for heat treatment. Before discovering molten salts as one of the best mediums for transferring heat, people also tested some other mediums. Like, air, water, sodium, oil, and a few more. It is one of the reasons why molten salts are being used for several solar and thermal applications too.

Molten salts or salt melts come with several properties that make them best for many applications. They are non-toxic and efficient when it comes to storing thermal energy. Due to their non-flammable properties are also used in multiple industrial, metal, and chemical applications. 

They are considered best to use in Industrial Process Heaters as well. From solar thermal power plants to steel heat treatment, all these processes highly depend on molten salts. Even though we do have multiple other heat transfer liquids available. But molten salts are more compatible with high temperature and high-pressure heat treatment.

What Makes Molten Salts Beneficial?

We already mentioned above that molten salts are used for several applications. For many applications, we have salts like organic salts, fluorides, chlorides, nitrates, and bromides. 

The benefits of molten salt make them more suitable for solar and non-solar applications. Like, they are used by electric heater manufacturers too for the manufacturing of Industrial Process Heaters.

Different molten salts have different properties and are used for unique applications. Some of the properties these molten salts carry are low vapor pressure, high operating temperature, low melting point, and less toxicity. 

They do have thermophysical properties also, along with better corrosion performance. Out of all the molten salts, nitrate is the most commonly used for multiple applications. Even the Electric Heater Manufacturer uses nitrate, which is best for heat transfer. 

Often, people use potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate, a eutectic blend for most applications.

Though one molten salt can also be used for different processes, it is good to combine two salts to reduce the melting point. It helps minimize the chance of freezing and makes it possible to use it at a lower minimum operating temperature. 

Like, if we consider potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate, they have a melting point of 333 degrees Celsius or 631 degrees Fahrenheit and 307 degrees Celsius or 584 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. If you mix both of them, the melting point will be around 222 degrees Celsius or 431 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So, the current melting point achieved after combining them makes them best to use for multiple applications that require high temperatures.

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How Are Molten Salts Useful In Industrial Processes?

As we have a variety of molten salts available, combining them can also be used for various industrial processes. We know that different industrial processes require different operating temperatures. 

It is possible to achieve those operating temperatures by blending certain salts. Though some molten salts are highly corrosive, nitrate offers excellent corrosion performance. That is why it is also used for Industrial Process Heaters, as it is compatible with stainless steel.

Compared to fluids like synthetic oil or silicone fluids, molten salts perform better at high temperatures. Also, molten salts can work more efficiently in low vapor pressure than hydrocarbon fluids.

All these multiple benefits of molten salts make them beneficial for process heating. Along with all these benefits, one must know they have low operational costs. So, industries can take advantage of their cost and efficiency for heat transfer processes.

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