Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Technology and installation for heatpipe filling with sodium

The equipment for filling and closing the heat pipes consists of:
- Port ampulla device;
- Ampulla breaking device;
- Electric oven;
- Heatpipe closing device;
- Vacuum installation.

The glass ampulla with the required sodium quantity is introduced in the port ampulla device. A manual device has the role to break the ampulla. The electric oven is used to heat the pipe to 850ºC.The closing device consists of a hydraulic vice. The jaws of the vice are connected to high current and low voltage, they have also a proximity sensor to open and close the circuit.

The technology for filling heatpipes with sodium consists of the following main stages:
- Insertion of the sodium ampulla;
- Electric heating of the heatpipe;
- Vacuum generation;
- Heating of the port-ampulla device, until sodium melting occurs;
- Breaking of the sodium ampulla;
- Closing, cutting and welding of the filling edge.

The technology and installation have been tested and used for manufacturing the sodium-filled heatpipes for prototype B of the biomass reformer. In this stage it involves mostly manual work, but it can be further improved, especially in the heating stages. Productivity can also be improved.

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