November 6, 2008 — Zone refining, as a process, has been used to purify metals for decades and is performed worldwide on a daily basis. Typically, zone refining is applied to materials with melting points in the range of 600°C to 1200°C. When the need arises to zone refine oxides with melting points over 2000°C, special system designs and capabilities are necessary.

Thermal Technology recently delivered and installed what is reportedly the industry’s highest temperature zone refiner. The system is capable of refining Alumina at a temperature of 2200°C. In order to attain these temperatures and not contaminate the Alumina, a 100% Tungsten heating system as well as a transport system fabricated primarily of Tungsten was utilized.

“This high temperature zone refiner system operates at extended temperatures for a period of days – or even weeks – refining oxides to purity levels not commercially available,” says Matt Mede, president and CEO of Thermal Technology.

Thermal Technology custom-built this high temperature zone refiner to meet the strict requirements of its customer. “The on-time delivery and successful implementation of this system were icing on the cake of this exciting and interesting project,” adds Mede.

Thermal Technology designs and manufactured high temperature vacuum furnaces for laboratory and production use. The furnaces accommodate metals, ceramics, glass, nanopowders, and emerging materials. They also manufacture crystal growing systems. Thermal Technology’s manufacturing and corporate offices are located in Santa Rosa, California. They also have sales offices in Illinois, New Hampshire, Germany and China.