The novel furnace system of Harper with dual functionality for a leading national lab is assisting their research, commercialization and development of a broad range of carbon materials from renewable resources. Advanced carbon materials derived from renewable sources are tapped to replace products presently obtained from petroleum. The objective is to provide products with similar functional quality at a lower cost, hence increasing the applications for these advanced carbon materials.
In order to simulate the commercial production of carbon materials a continuous thermal processing system was developed by the Harper team. Precursor materials planned for this development project vary widely in both particle sizes and shapes. These variations in precursor materials will require two distinct types of furnace systems: a rotary furnace for one type of material and a mesh belt furnace system for other materials. The laboratory, which had limited floor space available, contacted Harper International for assistance in designing a single, continuous thermal processing system that could satisfy both requirements. A multi-functional thermal processing system was developed by the Harper team that can be transformed from a rotary tube furnace to a mesh belt furnace while using a single thermal platform.
A clam shell design is features in the single thermal processing system that enables opening of the top half of the furnace exposing the furnace's internal section. The rotary tube furnace features a completely sealed rotary tube system and enclosed discharge collection to maintain atmospheric integrity. Four zones of control enable adjustments to heat-up rate, soak period and cooling rate.
The control of the process capacity is done by adjusting the angle of the system's inclination, along with the rotational speed of the tube and the feeder system screw. It is possible to remove the rotary tube from the system enabling the installation of a mesh belt within the same thermal section of the furnace. The mesh belt thermal system is also atmospherically controlled, with purge chambers located at both the entrance and exit end of the furnace system. Four zones of control enable adjustments to the thermal profile. The internal alloy muffle was developed with several exhaust ports at key locations for the removal of corrosive off-gases. A water jacket installed around the muffle assists with the cooling of material prior to its exit from the furnace. .
Both the furnace systems have been developed to be gas tight and to operate with a range of atmospheric gases, including reactive and corrosive gases. The systems can operate in the 1000°C range with thermal processing cycle variations from 30 minutes up to 10 hours.
This leading national laboratory will now have the flexibility to test and develop new carbon materials from a range of sources, including renewable, to support their mission in advanced the future of materials research. Harper’s design of this dual functionality furnace supports requirements to work with the limited space within their lab and the need for flexibi-ity in processing a wide variety of materials in both rotary and mesh belt furnace systems.
The design of this custom furnace system shows Harper’s commitment to provide solutions, investments, and new concepts to achieve the needs of our valued customers. The world of advanced materials continues to change at an accelerated pace. Harper’s culture is one of genuine ingenuity and creativity, which ensures we are constantly challenging ourselves to craft the best-engineered technology solution for our customers’ unique thermal processing needs.
About Harper International
Harper International is a global leader in complete thermal processing solutions, as well as technical services essential for the production of advanced materials.From concept to commercialization, from research scale to full production line operations, Harper is perpetually on the cutting edge. For decades, we have pioneered some of the world’s most innovative, customized systems, with a focus on processing materials at high temperatures and in non-ambient atmospheres.
Harper’s value proposition is unequaled — decades of industry experience, a highly specialized, multi-talented group of employees, and a passion for partnership. We don’t shoehorn a standard line of products to fit our customers’ requirements. We specialize in first-of-a-kind solutions using our exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge. Harper’s culture is one of genuine ingenuity and creativity, which ensures we are constantly challenging ourselves to craft the best-engineered technology solution for our customers’ unique thermal processing needs.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Harper International.
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