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Bubbler Tube Platinum Products in Glass Melting

Glass manufacturing is an age-old industry encompassing an extremely diverse range of production techniques. Blowing glass is perhaps the most iconic of these. It exploits the unique viscosity of molten glass by blowing air into the melt, causing it to expand and gradually cool into the desired shape. This is an extremely specialized process where expert glassblowers spool the molten material at the end of a blowpipe before shaping individual components via blow-through. Various platinum products have been developed to take advantage of this viscosity to enhance the underlying melting process in glass furnaces.

Both proprietary glassblowing and commercial-scale float glass manufacturing use melting furnaces to reduce silica sand and additional raw materials to a workable molten state. In a typical batch processing system, these raw materials are metered through the batch charger and into the firing chamber where temperatures range up to 1500°C (2732°F). Platinum products find application throughout the melting compartment, from sheathing of the tank walls to platinum bubbler products.

What Are Platinum Bubbler Tubes?

Bubbler tubes are innovative platinum products used to stir the melt and obtain good homogeneity and thermal uniformity within the melting tank. They are positioned throughout the siege of the melting furnace to introduce small gas bubbles into the mixture. This has the effect of mixing the lower and upper layers of the melt to improve thermal uniformity.

Glass is an extremely poor conductor of heat which makes it hard to reach optimal melting rates and ensure homogeneity by diffusion of heat alone. Positioning bubble tubes reinforced with platinum shielding products along the siege introduces a curtain of bubbles across the tank, improving the thermal efficiency of the process and accelerating the melting rate.

These bubbles also have the added effect of improving homogeneity and reducing the proliferation of flaws through to the final product. As the bubbles break on the surface, they create a physical barrier to hardened scum on the melt surface. They also capture trapped pockets of gas and remove them from the mixture as they rise into the headspace of the furnace.

Bubble tubes constructed from pure platinum products or platinum-rhodium alloys are ideal for melting furnaces of all structures and scales, due to the outstanding corrosion- and erosion-resistant properties of the metal. The platinum sheathes of the tubes will not be attacked by the molten raw materials. They are also inert in the presence of all suitable gas species at any temperature, eliminating the risk of cross-reactions between the bubbler tube and the bubbling medium.

Platinum products are widely accepted as an industry-standard for bubbling in glass melting tanks, ensuring optimal performance throughout the entire life cycle of the furnace.

Platinum Products from XRF Scientific

XRF Scientific is a world leader in the design and supply of platinum products for glass melting and manufacturing processes. We offer semi-finished platinum products in a range of designs and alloys, with good suitability for all glass manufacturing applications.

If you would like to learn more, read our previous blog post: Platinum Products for Fiberglass Production. Otherwise, contact us directly with any questions.