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Why heating elements hum

Welcome to another Pointer from Paragon.

If you ever thought you heard the kiln's heating elements humming, it wasn't your imagination. "Some heating elements hum during firing. This is the sound of the element coils vibrating in their brick grooves," explains Bob Gieselman, Paragon's director of operations.

A heating element is formed by winding the element wire around a mandrel, then stretching the element. This produces a coiled wire. When electricity passes through it, each coil generates a small magnetic force. This magnetism attracts the coils to each other.

The electricity that powers a kiln alternates direction. In the United States, the electricity changes direction 60 times a second (60 hertz); in most countries, 50 times (50 hertz). With each change of direction, the magnetism in the element coils reverses. Coils that were attracted when the current went one direction repel each other when the current switches direction. This constant attraction and repulsion between the coils causes them to vibrate.

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, Inc.

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