Specifically, I am trying to find an efficient and cost effective method for minimizing required length of a Kanthal A1 heating wire element, but at the same time keeping the diameter large enough to allow for a relatively low surface load (w/cm^2) - to increase the service life of the element.
I would like to run the heating element off 120v-240v AC, with 200-400 watts. For 120v @ 200 Watts = 120^2/200 = 72 Ohms - After calculating, it appears I have a choice between too much wire for the available space, or too much surface load on a thin&shorter wire. Excess surface load is what causes the the wire to prematurely oxidize and burn up, or even melt.
For the purposes of surface load, can I effectively halve the load by placing a rectifying diode in series? If yes, what would the best diode be for this application (assume the circuit would be continuously open, and there would be minimal heat dissipation for the diode beyond it's inherent rating.) How do you calculate the heat produced/dissipated by a rectifying Diode? Would these work? 10A10
Are there better/additional ways to efficiently lower the power in the circuit? My understanding is that a resistor would dissipate power equal to it's reduction, so that's not an option. In case it influences the answer, any solution up to $50 parts cost would be worth considering, but under $10 is ideal.