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Fluidbed Special Applications

Lost Foam Casting

This process is widely used for production casting of steel, and nonferrous metals. The adaptation to use in a fluidbed creates some advantages for precision applications. It involves immersing a mold into a hot fluidized bed to a predetermined depth, then killing the fluidizing gases to collapse the sand bed around the mold. The heat soon drives out the styrofoam leaving a clean dry mold cavity that can receive molten metal. The added benefit for this is realized because the sand creates support for the mold wall, enabling a lighter buildup of the mold. Additionally, the heat is maintained in the casting allowing a slower and more even cooldown. Since the foam pattern has been removed, there will be no pressure buildup due to the escaping gas, and there will be no change in metallurgy that is sometimes caused by carbon absorption from the foam decomposition.

Gas Production

A oxygen producing closed circuit laboratory; this process was investigated by a well known producer of process gases. Their process involved the phenomena that oxygen is driven off from Nitrate salts when heated and is absorbed upon cooling. They proposed to eventually capture waste heat from a large steel production facility to stimulate this oxygen production, and in the laboratory they simulated that heat source using our Fluidbed.

Space Exploration

In the developmental stages of creating equipment for existing in outer space, much thought process and trial and error testing was used to develop the equipment that would eventually be used to provide heat and power in the space lab as well as on the shuttle crafts. One of these was a space boiler that would consist of a tube in the focus of a concentrator reflector that would gather solar heat for use in the spacecraft utilities. There was a need to test the tube materials under cycling heat and cooling, and was performed in our fluidbed developed for this application.

Food Production

A furnace was proposed and almost completed to provide heat to a tube assembly immersed in a fluidbed. This was not completed but the theory was to convey or blow food particles through the heated tube under closely controlled temperature and time characteristics to improve product quality.

Artificial Joint Enhancement

Artificial knee, elbow, hip and other failing skeletal members have been replaced using Stainless steel alloys, titanium, and other non corroding metals. The joints are formed by lining the mating surfaces with plastic sheathing. After years of service the plastic is gradually worn away and has to be absorbed into the body, creating a toxic effect. If the material could be improved by increasing hardness and improving the surface finish this wear could be reduced and increase the joint life. A solution was devised that would convert the surface of zirconium metal to its oxide in our fluidbed furnace. this produces a very hard ceramic surface which can be finely polished. These joints have recently been introduced and have essentially double the expected joint life to 10-15 years.