Microwave Glass Melting
Microwave Glass Melting is a Unique Processing Technology
A new industrial glass processing technology, microwave glass melting, has been developed by Gyrotron Technology Inc. that is significantly more efficient and productive than any common existing heat processes using hot gas, electric resistances, or industrial microwave. It has long been established that a dielectric material can be processed with energy in the form of high-frequency electromagnetic waves. The developed industrial glass processing technologies are based on using the gyrotron beam that possesses unique properties and allows incredible results. Among these technologies are microwave glass melting, heating glass sheets for shaping/bending, tempering thin glass, sealing glass and many others.
The gyrotron is a microwave source that generates a millimeter wave microwave beam ranging from a few KW up to one megawatt power. By utilizing simple metal mirrors the beam can be focused, spread over a surface, and directed — all with superior heat density where it’s focused and no heat where it’s not, as well as with controllable uniformity.
The millimeter microwave energy absorption in glass is primarily due to the existence of permanent dipole molecules which tend to re-orientate under the influence of a microwave electric field. This re-orientation loss mechanism originates from the inability of the polarization to follow extremely rapid reversals of the electric field. At such high frequencies, therefore, the resulting polarization phase lags with respect to the changes in applied electric field and the power is dissipated in the dielectric material such as glass.
Due to the unique properties of the gyrotron source, it is possible to create a new glass processing technologies such as microwave glass melting which is ready to be applied to the industrial environment.
Traditional glass melting constitutes making glass from the batch of glass-making ceramic. The usual components of the batch have high melting points, and a lot of air is trapped in the batch. This air and other gasses formed during the chemical reactions between batch components are trapped inside bubbles and must be removed during the refining process. A foam layer appears on the surface of the molten glass, and removing this foam is a very slow process because the foam is heated only through the thermal conductivity from the molten glass. A new batch that comes to the tank for melting also stays on top and floats on the molten glass. It takes significant amount of time until the new batch becomes melted, and all these factors make the process of glass production to be very time consuming.
The only way to accelerate glass melting is directly heating the foam and incoming batch. The best heating source for that is microwave. Millimeter wave microwave interacts with the glass batch so efficiently that batch can be melted within seconds. The new technology based on the gyrotron beam’s ability to rapidly melt ceramic components was created by Gyrotron Technology Inc. Using this technology, continuously flowing glass making ceramics melt directly on their way to the melting furnace and/or on the surface of the molten bath.
This gives opportunity for the new design of glass melting tanks, and any capacity melting tanks (including small) can be designed. This simplifies changing glass composition, tooling and realignment of the production line. The glass batch does not come into contact with the electrical, gas or fuel sources, so the glass composition stays the same.
Many industries can benefit by using the new microwave glass melting technology. For more information about microwave glass melting and other new technology for almost all steps of glass processing please visit http://www.gyrotrontech.com/