Carbolite Constructs a Furnace for the Thermal Treatment of Foamed Ceramics

The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden is using a Carbolite furnace to research debinding and sintering of ceramics as part of in-depth investigations into the application benefits of foamed ceramics.

The research at Fraunhofer IKTS called for a custom-built 35 litre capacity 1400°C furnace with silicon carbide heating. Additionally, Fraunhofer IKTS required the furnace to provide improved management of the toxic cyanide, isocyanate and nitrogen dioxide fumes that were produced from their previous, conventional furnace, as the polyurethane foam matrix and organic binders were burned-off. Carbolite achieved this goal by mounting a secondary catalytic after-burner on top of the primary chamber furnace.

The after-burner was derived from a modified variant of a Carbolite ‘G-range’ tube furnace incorporating a central core comprising a catalytic labyrinth to ensure the toxic fumes were fully combusted. Samples containing up to 150g of polyurethane can now be tested with the processed fumes from the Carbolite furnace now being fed into the Fraunhofer's extractor system which operates at 150 to 250 litres/minute.

The overall solution is designed and constructed to automatically run through variations on a two step temperature cycle. For debinding purposes the furnace has to run at 600°C but the furnace also needs to run at 1290°C for sintering of the ceramic foam once the binder has burned off. To protect the afterburner, Carbolite also fitted an automatic damper system which is designed to close automatically when the main furnace temperature rises beyond 600°C.

The Carbolite solution is specially constructed to ensure that the exhaust fumes are introduced to the catalyst at the optimum effective temperature for catalytic performance without damaging the catalyst. To achieve optimal catalytic conditions the furnace system is equipped with a sophisticated control system. The main furnace chamber and the sample being studied are protected by a variable temperature and over-temperature protection thermostat in addition to the main programmable controller.

Additional control equipment includes an afterburner controller pre-set at 550°C plus a flip-flop over temperature device set at 750°C in order to protect the afterburner.

Carbolite’s German sales team find there is a strong demand in many German research establishments for both standard laboratory furnaces and ovens as well as more customized designs built to the end user’s specific requirements.

Highly experienced in the design and manufacture of a wide range of furnaces and ovens, Carbolite has supplied many customers with debinding furnaces as well as furnaces, using both conventional and catalytic afterburners. All of Carbolite’s customized industrial products are designed to comply with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Carbolite’s laboratory products are CE marked and designed to comply with IEC 61010 Part 1 pertaining to laboratory heating products.

The expertise and skills of scientists at Fraunhofer IKTS cover the complete field of advanced ceramics, from basic research to applications. The German R&D organization is keenly focused on the development and application of modern advanced ceramic materials which include the advancement of industrial powder metallurgical technologies as well as the manufacture of prototype components. Structural ceramics, functional ceramics and cermets (innovative ceramic-metal hybrids) are the principal focal points of Fraunhofer IKTS.

The Dresden-based IKTS technologists place great emphasis on creating innovative complex systems which can be applied across many industry sectors. Foamed ceramics, which are one key area of R&D at Fraunhofer IKTS, are increasingly of interest for filtration and energy management applications. Foamed ceramics are also the basis of the ceramic matrix onto which catalytic materials are deposited during the manufacture of catalytic converters. Ideal for the filtration of dust or liquefied material, foamed ceramics offer a winning combination of the strength of a ceramic coupled with the weight reduction benefits of a foamed material.

About Carbolite
Established in 1938, Carbolite has over 60 years of experience in the design & manufacture of electric laboratory & industrial furnaces, laboratory & industrial ovens & incubators. During this time, Carbolite has established an enviable reputation for its ability to design and manufacture quality products for standard & special applications for laboratory, pilot scale & industrial applications. Today, Carbolite equipment has become the standard against which other heat processing equipment is measured.

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