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Which Type of Heating Elements in Sintering Furnaces is Better?

All dental sintering furnaces are similar in several ways. They sinter zirconia at anywhere from 1450°C to 1600°C, they sinter in air, they have a minimal number of programs, they have a fairly large muffle cavity height, and they are all pretty simple to operate.

One of the main differences between units is the type of heating elements they use. Basically, there are two: Silicon Carbide and Moly Disilicide. Since both heat the furnaces and the zirconia milling materials to the proper high temperature, why choose one over the other? 

Here are some heater facts, both pro and con.

Silicon Carbide Heating Elements

Silicon Carbide elements cost about half that of Moly Disilicide elements.

 They have only about 2/3 the life expectancy of Moly Disilicide elements.

 Compering heat dispersion between the two is irrelevant because ceramic sagger trays average the heat all around the work product.

 Silicon Carbide heaters costs less to drive the furnace electrically.

Moly Disilicide Heating Elements

 “Moly” heaters are about twice the price of Silicon Carbide ones.

 They offer 1/3 to ½ more life expectancy than Silicon Carbide ones.

 Heat dispersion is irrelevant due to the ceramic sagger trays which totally saturate and average the heat all around the work product.

 “Molys” are significantly more expensive to drive electrically. They require either a massive step down transformer (very heavy & expensive) OR a special DC power supply which is lighter in weight, just as expensive, and possibly less reliable.

So there are the differences. Both work. Both offer advantages over the other. Both offer disadvantages over the other. So, as is often the case, before purchasing, you should do some research to determine which of the heater types best fits your lab’s needs.


Bernie Jaroslow

Bernie Jaroslow, CDT, has over 40 years of experience in the dental laboratory industry. He is currently the Marketing Manager at Whip Mix Corporation responsible for all marketing support including developing content for digital and print, creating product instructions, packaging and sales literature.

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