Simulating conditions for material specifications in refractory samples is vital at the Vesuvius Olifantsfontein fully-fledged R&D laboratory in Gauteng. This lab is in the process of replacing some high temperature furnaces that have reached the end of their useful lifespan with state-of-the art technology from Carbolite. Vesuvius is a world leader in the design, engineering, manufacture and delivery of refractory products, systems and services for high-technology industrial applications, refractories and systems used to control, regulate and protect the flow of steel in the continuous casting process.
Four specially designed Calbolite furnaces will be in place by the end of 2012 to support the thermal testing programme to detect linear change in any preshaped sized sample, such as bricks or casterable material, by subjecting them to high temperatures from 500 to 1600°C for various periods of time. This “physical destruction” procedure in simulated conditions enables the company to carry out research into the stability and accuracy of material specifications of the sample.
The Carbolite furnaces, installed by Carbolites local agent Labotec, are compact and convenient to use in a laboratory situation, with double skin construction helping to keep the outer skin cool and high quality insulation optimising thermal efficiency. A high precision PID controller with adjustable ramping, timer to switch off after the cycle and associated power control equipment are housed within an integral box. The furnaces are equipped with a safety device to switch off should there be a power failure and a local isolator lock-out switch, to prevent any illicit entry. The medium capacity model furnace was equipped with a gas inlet to control atmosphere as certain samples need to be heated under oxidising conditions while others need a neutral or reducing atmosphere. The furnaces are all versatile enough for various applications, and the Vesuvius R&D lab also deliver a testing service to outside clients in general industry that includes sintering of alumina, and checking A12O3 content in alumina, smelt trials testing and analysis of cement samples, refractory porosity tests and more.