Heating Up! A Guide to Gravity Convection Ovens
You may have heard of, or even cooked your favorite meal in, a regular convection oven. Relatively small and compact, they have become common additions to any household kitchen counter over the last few years. In the laboratory, there’s usually no need to make toast or roast veggies, however, there may be a need to dry or heat up delicate samples. Therefore, a gravity convection oven is the perfect fit for your lab space.
What is a Gravity Convection Oven?
While a regular, or forced-air, convection oven uses a fan to circulate air around the chamber, creating an even flow of hot air throughout, a gravity convection oven does not use a fan. Instead, Gravity Convection Ovens take advantage of the natural phenomenon of heat rising.
But wait, if there’s no fan, won’t the upper levels of the gravity convection oven be much hotter than the lower levels? Nope! This is because hot air rises as it expands and loses density. Once this hot air reaches the top of the oven, it can no longer maintain its heat energy, so this air begins to make its way back down the oven. This process continues to repeat. Though the temperature may not be as consistent throughout as a forced-air oven, the small chamber means that the heat has less space to fill, and without a fan, the air within the chamber moves much slower and is generally less disruptive.
What is a Gravity Convection Oven Used For?
Sometimes you may need to dry, heat, cure, bake, or sterilize samples, such as powders or other material that can weigh extremely light. These materials could be blown away or moved by the fan in a forced-air oven. Some may have tried to use aluminum foil or parchment paper, for example, to line a pan in their household forced-air convection oven and noticed that the ends curl and move up and down as the air travels. A gravity convection oven prevents this movement from occurring because the air in the chamber is moving naturally.
Benefits of Gravity Convection Ovens
- Gentle Airflow – If you work with lightweight substances that you need undisturbed while they cure, heat, or sterilize, a Gravity Convection Oven is once again perfect for you. Save time cleaning out powder from the crevices of your forced-air convection oven and buy a gravity convection oven today!
- Costs Less – Gravity convection ovens are typically much cheaper than their forced-air alternatives due to the lack of necessity for fan technology. Gravity convection ovens may range from $450 to $900, while forced-air ovens can range from $600 to over $1,450. Depending on your needs, a gravity convection oven is less messy and less money!
Drawbacks of Gravity Convection Ovens
- Temperature Distribution – As said earlier, with no fan, there is no guarantee that the heat in a gravity convection oven will be consistent or uniform throughout. It is possible that, though the air is moving up and down, the upper levels may be slightly warmer. It’s important to take this into consideration if you need to make sure that certain samples are treated the same throughout your experiment. However, if temperature uniformity is not one of your considerations, gravity convections are perfect for your lab.
- Slower Heating and Cooling – There’s a reason that gravity convection ovens have been relegated to the laboratory instead of the typical kitchen. Without a fan, the air is moving much slower in gravity ovens than in forced-air convection ovens, meaning it’s going to take longer for your samples or materials to heat, dry, and for the oven to cool down to room temperature.
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