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Furnace Engineering awarded for the development of high tech furnaces for carbon fibre pilot line

News International-French

1 Oct 2014

The company received an award at the Victoria Engineering Excellence Awards for their development of high tech furnaces for carbon fibre research facility (Carbon Nexus) at Deakin University in Geelong.

The equipment sets new benchmarks with features of interest to carbon fibre producers:

  • Good atmosphere sealing in spite of having open ends
  • Ability to confirm the furnace is airtight prior to production
  • Ability to reduce atmosphere purge time and gas consumption
  • Effective cooling of the emerging fibre while under inert atmosphere
  • Reduced losses, electrical energy and nitrogen consumption
  • International patent applications are in place for several novel features of the furnace design

The features enable the furnaces to process high modulus carbon fibre with low power and nitrogen consumption.

Novel features were incorporated in the furnaces in order to achieve these objectives. Losses were reduced by good thermal insulation and a reduction in the water cooling of power connections and the furnace casing. A new atmosphere curtain design was implemented to keep air out and fumes in the chamber, a critical design requirement for an open-ended slot furnace suitable for carbon fibre processing. The high temperature chamber is equipped with removable end-caps enabling the entire furnace to be quantitatively vacuum-checked for leaks. An active cooling method allows rapid waterless cooling to ambient under inert atmosphere. Emerging fibres are cool enough to handle without gloves.

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