A drying oven is a device for applying low heat over a long time to a variety of objects for a variety of purposes. Some kitchen ovens come with an option for one. This allows an appliance primarily for cooking to be used for drying flowers, as well as food dehydration to extend shelf life. A dedicated drying oven is often used in the food industry to create snacks such as pretzels, bagel crisps, crackers, extruded corn products, and chips.
Another use of the drying oven is sterilization and drying for laboratory equipment, such as glassware. Features may include forced convection, adjustable ventilation, and a digital timer. Air circulation may be achieved with either a fan or a turbine. Convection drying ovens may also be used for thermal testing, thermal storage, evaporation, and heat treatments. Larger models may include conveyor belts.
Use of the drying oven with ceramics is two-fold. For one thing, they are an essential element of commercial manufacture of a wide range of products, including sanitary ware such as toilet bowls, sewer pipe, tiles, and glass and porcelain. On the other hand, the pottery kiln, used for both built and thrown pottery, is another type of drying oven, found in the studios of many potters and a number of art departments.
Manufacturers of chemicals use two types of drying ovens: continuous dryers and batch dryers. In this industry, the ovens are used for slurries and stearates, among other compounds. They are also an important component in the manufacture of chlorine gas. The curing of rubber and plastics also takes place in a drying or curing oven.
Archaeological sites have turned up these types of ovens used in the past. An archaeological dig in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England in 2006 by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd. turned up a malt drying oven that might have been abandoned due to the Black Death. Another was found in Raunds, Northamptonshire, England in 1980, and a malt kiln was excavated in Great Linford, Milton Keynes, England in 1978.