Structural ceramics with electrical function as heating applications


Ceramic glow plug, manufactured by 2C injection moulding (EU-Strep project „CarCIM“ TST5-CT-2006-031462).

Electrically conductive ceramics can be used for high temperature applications as heating element. Ceramic heater materials may withstand extreme loads like high temperatures, oxidizing or chemically corrosive atmospheres or mechanical challenges. Silicon carbide heating elements are well established for numerous heating areas giving an example. An intensive material research results in a variety of ceramic materials used for electrical heaters. Fraunhofer IKTS offers specified developments of S-SiC, Si-SiC or LPS-SiC besides the well-known commercial R-SiC heating elements. The innovative SiC-heater materials are outstanding with their low electrical resistance at room temperature. Moreover ceramic composites composed of silicon carbide, silicohn nitride and metallic carbides or metallic silicides can be used to tune the electrical resistance in the range of metal like conductors up to electrical insulators. Special ceramics as titanium suboxides, boron carbides, zirconium carbide or semiconductive mixed oxides offer options to create application fitted properties in a temperature range between 50 to 2200 °C.


Service offered


  • Consulting about optimal material selection of innovative ceramics for customer adapted heating
  • Development of specific ceramic heating elements
  • Testing and characterization of heating performance of heater materials and heating elements
  • Concepts, materials and products for multifunctional heating elements (heating, sensing, catalysis)


Technical equipment


  • Test stand for heating elements under air up to 1600 °C
  • Test stand for heating elements under vacuum up to 2000 °C
  • Measurement of electrical resistance up to 1400 °C (air, argon, nitrogen)
  • Manufacture of heating elements and components for heaters




  • Ceramic glow plugs for diesel engines
  • Line evaporator elements made of S-SiC
  • Heating element demonstrator made of ZrC