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DESIGN PROTOTYPE EQUIPMENT CONTRUCTION AND PERFORMANCE TESTING OF A TRANSFERRED ARC PLASMA SYSTEM APPLIED TO THE PRODUCTION OF FINE, PARTICULATE ALUMINIUM NITRIDE

Objective


Tetronics (TRD) and GH Industries (GH), in consultation with the other partners, the University of Limoges (ULIM), decided on the design and construction of a five piece modular reactor to be sited at TRD's premises. GH fabricated the reactor modules and shipped the units over to England in August 1989.

Both the modular reactor and a smaller test unit at ULIM have produced aluminium nitride powders; initial tests at TRD using a twin plasma torch, configured to run argon (anode) and nitrogen (cathode), while ULIM ran on straight single transferred plasma using nitrogen. Primary aluminium was found in the TRD powders but not in those produced by ULIM. A nitrogen anode torch has been developed at TRD to eliminate argon and hence free aluminium in the modular reactor.
Tests have been recorded on video at both test unit locations. Vapourisation is thought to occur at the surfaces of the massive aluminium nitride structure (mushroom) growing from the aluminium melt. The twin arc system does not require the use of an aluminium anode return. The model for the nucleation and growth of aluminium nitride is being developed at ULIM.

Typical powder sizes of nominally 135nm have been produced with aluminium nitride contents up to 99%. At ULIM and TRD the twin torch configuration installed in the modular reactor demonstrates a basis for the production of nano sized powders.
DESIGN AND OPERATE A PROTOTYPE TRANSFERRED ARC PLASMA SYSTEM TO PRODUCE SUB-MICRON CERAMIC PARTICLES BY FIRST PRODUCING A GAS PHASE FROM THE FEED MATERIAL IN A REACTION CHAMBER AND THEN STIMULATING NUCLEATION OF THE REQUIRED PARTICLES UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS.

PRELIMINARY WORK HAS SHOWN THAT THIS PLASMA PROCESS OFFERS SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER PYROMETALLURGICAL OR PRECIPITATION TECHNIQUES. WIDER USE OF THIS PROCESS COULD RESULT IF MORE INFORMATION WERE AVAILABLE ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SYSTEM, RELIABILITY, IDEAL PLASMA TORCH CONFIGURATION AND LIFETIME OF THE PLASMA TORCH WHICH NEEDS TO OPERATE IN AN EROSIVE, ELECTRICALLY CONDUCTIVE AND HIGH TEMPERATURE ENVIRONMENT TO OBTAIN A SATISFACTORY PRODUCT.
MAJOR OBJECTIVES ARE TO OPERATE A FULLY INSTRUMENTED PLASMA SYSTEM TO PRODUCE FINE PARTICLES, LOGGING BOTH SYSTEM PERFORMANCE, COMPONENT LIFETIMES AND RELIABILITY DATA ON TO A COMPUTER SYSTEM; TEST THE PRODUCTS AND PREPARE THE PROCESS DESIGN AND EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS. THE AVAILABILITY OF THIS INFORMATION WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SME'S TO APPLY THE RESULTS TO EXISTING AND FUTURE PRODUCT REQUIREMENTS.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Tetronics Research and Development Company Ltd
Address
5B Lechlade Road
SN7 9AJ Faringdon
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

Billiton Research BV
Netherlands
Address

6800 AA Arnhem
G.H. Elin International S.A.
Spain
Address
8056,Vereda Real S/n
46184 San Antonio De Benageber
Université de Limoges
France
Address
13 Rue De Genève
87065 Limoges