According to Harper, data was acquired at temperatures up to 280°C and air velocities up to 4 metres per second. It explains that, one of the most critical performance metrics in an Oxidation Oven is air velocity uniformity. Harper says its Oxidation Oven uniformity measured 2.2%. Air velocity uniformity across the entire tow band is essential as the PAN stabilisation phase is an exothermic reaction. If there are low velocity regions, the reaction can run away, causing deflagration. If there are high velocity regions, it can cause damage to the delicate PAN fibre.
Harper’s claims its design also demonstrated temperature uniformity of +/- 2.5°C throughout the entire heated length. Temperature uniformity is critical in carbon fibre manufacturing because it enables higher and more efficient rates of production.
As greater production rates have led to wider, taller, and longer oxidation ovens, it is a critical challenge to improve velocity and temperature uniformity while simultaneously increasing the oven size. “Harper’s Oven design offers our customers enhanced performance and increased confidence in their fibre manufacturing,” commented Bill Stry, PhD and Renee Bagwell, PhD, Senior Process Technology Engineers at Harper. “We took on the task of engineering an Oxidation Oven that addresses today’s and tomorrow’s market demands for efficiency and quality, and the data obtained during full scale testing shows our success.”
Companies: Harper International