Thursday, 20 October 2011

Through The Ceramic Looking Glass

The performance and appearance of many appliances has increased dramatically in recent years, a good deal of this can be attributed to the availability of high temperature glass, we take a look at how the material has evolved into probably one of the most important components of high-efficiency fires and mutli-fuel stoves.
The open-fire has for decades, if not centuries has been the symbol of where the family gathres to cook, and relax when the darkness of winter nights draws in.
But with an open-fire, by definition being, well... open, the fire draws oxygen from wherever it can, normally resulting in a excess air being drawn across the fire and up the chimney, taking smoke from the fire and more importantly heat up the chimney and out of the house! Meaning you're literally watching your investment in whatever fuel you're using, whether it be wood, anthracite, oil or gas, literally disappearing up your chimney!

Efficiency Through Control
By controlling the air supply you can very effectively manage the movement and escape of combustion products, allowing the maximum amount of heat to be harnessed. All of the UK stove manufacturer's such as Broseley, Aga, Portway to name but a few, now surpass the minimum 65% efficiency, with some even surpassing 80% gross.

The same principles apply to the latest high-efficiency fires, with maimum efficiencies approaching 90% with fires such as the Gallery Solaris, Verine Orbis and the Laura Ashley Glass Fronted Fires all quoting up to 89% efficiency.
For most people the view of the flame plays a pivotal role in creating the overall ambience, feeling and experience of being warm and comfortable, this has further increased demand for a high-temperature glass that allows unobstructed views of the fire inside.
Conventional Building glass was the first material used, but this was quickly dismissed as temperatures were simply far too high for it to withstand. Mica windows were the next to be tested, however these greatly limited the size of the window and also proved to be not very reliable.
Boroscilicate glass windows proved to be successful, with high temperature capability and allowing stove and fire designers to allow larger windows, with some stoves still using it today. But over the last two decades a vast majority if not all high-efficiency fire and stove manufacturers have moved on from glass and now use ceramic technology, which provides the possibility of an unobstructed large viewing window.
The "Transparent Ceramic Vision Panel" also allows for excellent heat transmission, allowing for more heat to be transferred out into the room, while also retaining sparks, embers and the combustion gases.
This evolution has allowed the design modern high-efficiency stoves and fires, particularly such as the Drugasar range, which without this ceramic glass just would not be possible.

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