The laboratory operates two 2 m horizontal axis parabolas,, part of the eleven Medium Size Solar Furnaces (MSSF).
These parabolas offer great flexibility and great capability to easily host different projects. Their reasonable size, standard equipment and very high performance is tailored for effective innovative processes and material tests with numerous unknown and thus numerous fast needed adaptations.
These concentrators offer about 1.5 kW of thermal power at the focus. The power density is the highest offered by existing solar furnaces: it reaches 16000 kW/m2 at its focus, with a focus diameter about 1.5 cm wide, allowing temperature in excess of 3800 K - in fact so far no known material withstands these flux under thermal equilibrium without melting... Operation out of focus for greater size and lower power density is easy and accurate thanks to the Z-positioning system.
Each concentrator is indeed fitted with:
- X-Y-Z-axis positioning support with high precision: on one parabola, the X and Z axis are motorized and computer controllable.
- water circuit for example for cooling
- compressed air for cooling or actuators
- easy access for using high level instrumentation: DAQ, pyrometry, imaging systems, spectrometer...
Two kind of shutters are available to regulate the incoming power from the heliostat:
- a simple shutter with two sliding doors.
- a shutter with motorized blades.
The shutters are installed on rails to allow their use on any parabola or their storage.