Hot plate

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An electric hotplate in operation

A hot plate is a portable self-contained tabletop small appliance fitted with (usually) one heating element, either electric or sometimes a gas burner. Electric hot plates tend to be more common, as they're safer to operate.

General

Hot plates consist of a flat body, which houses the internal circuitry, electric switches and the heating element. The heating element is inside the circular dome, while the temperature is controlled through buttons and voltage regulators.

Lab hot plates come in two models: the simple model, with only heating, and the one with magnetic stirrer, which is standard in labs.

Availability

Simple hot plates can be bought from most kitchen and electronic stores.

Lab hot plates, simple or also capable of magnetic stirring can be purchased from most lab suppliers, online.

DIY hot plate

Lab hot plates can be easily made at home by connecting a heating element to an insulated plate. To add magnetic stirring, you can simply glue two magnets on a fan motor and place it below the heating element. However, if the heating plate is too thick, it may shield the stirrer from the two magnets from the motor, weakening the stirring power.

Lab stirrer hotplates tend to be somewhat overpriced, and depending on your skills you can make one at home much cheaper than simply buying a brand new one. A good tutorial can be found here (though it's in Italian).

Projects

  • Heating source
  • Magnetic stirrer

Safety and handling

Hot plates do not glow when hot, and since they don't cool immediately after being turned off, you can burn yourself seriously if you accidentally touch them with your bare unprotected hand. Faulty insulation may lead to electrocution, make sure to check the hotplate for any defects.

See also

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads