The laboratory operates the 6 kW vertical axis parabola, part of the eleven Medium Size Solar Furnaces (MSSF).
This concentrator offers intermediate experimental capability between the smaller high performance 1.5 m and 2 m vertical and horizontal axis parabolas and bigger EuroDish and Mega Watt Solar Furnace.
This concentrator offers about 6 kW of thermal power at its focus on a 55 mm disc with its multi facets parabola concept. The power density reaches about 5500 kW/m2 on a 0.5 cm wide disc, allowing temperature up to about 2500 K depending on the material and the process of course. Operation out of focus for greater size and lower power density is easy and repeatable thanks to the X-Y-Z positioning system.
The concentrator is indeed fitted with:
- X-Y-Z axis motorized positioning system with manual control
- water circuit for example for cooling
- compressed air for cooling or actuators
- easy access for using high level instrumentation: DAQ, pyrometry, imaging systems, spectrometer...
- a high performance indigenously developed shutter to control operating thermal power.
The shutter offers high moving speeds (in standard ~700 ms for 0 to 100 % concentrator's thermal power output, faster possible on request and study) and low dead shadow. This performance is possible due to the use of aluminum and its high power brushless motorization with state of the art high performance industrial controller.
The existence of a simple standard 0-10 V analog input allows connection to any regulator, embedded or computer controlled.
For example, the use of a high quality industrial PID regulator has shown surface temperature control with solar-blind pyrometry around 1K on SiC and Al2O3 discs between 600 and 2000 K.
Such regulators for the energy input can be used to adjust other parameters than a temperature such as a process pressure.