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Under process heating we mean the heating of liquids, gases and vapors.
Heating takes place directly or indirectly.
In case of direct heating, the heat is directly transmitted from the heating element to the medium to be heated. An example of direct heating is an immersion heater which is screwed in a vessel where the elements give off their heat directly to the water.
With indirect heating, the heat transfer takes place via another medium (liquid, metal or gas).
An example of indirect heating is drum heating, wherein the medium in the vessel is heated up via a heater placed on the outside of the vessel and so indirectly heat up the medium in the vessel.
With direct heating efficiency is the highest. However, this cannot always be applied since some media are flammable or have a corrosive effect on the heating elements.