Monthly Archives: October 2014

Thermal Oxidizers, Bringing You Clear Blue Skies

The average person has never heard of thermal oxidizers. But whether you have heard of them or not, these machines are essential to the way we live and to our safety.

A thermal oxidizer is a combustion device used to control air pollution by destroying VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The hazardous gasses are heated at extreme temperatures until the pollutants breakdown into a harmless gas. Thermal Oxidizers are also known as industrial afterburners.

The main reason for thermal oxidizers is to eliminate harmful VOC’s. Volatile Organic Compounds are the byproduct of the heating process where these harmful chemicals are released into the air. The majority of these harmful compounds are hydro-carbon based. Some VOC’s occur in nature and some are manmade. Scents and odors are VOC’s, like those of flowers, for example, which are harmless. The problem is that the majority manmade VOC’s are extremely harmful, both to the environment and to the lungs if inhaled. The effects of inhaling VOC’s compound and cause damage in your body and in the atmosphere over time.

The paint and protective coating industries are some of the largest producers of VOC’s. Over 12 billion liters of paint are manufactured every year. Benzene, created from tobacco smoke as well as auto exhaust is a large VOC creator. Methylene chloride is one of the most harmful VOC’s found in aerosol sprays which are known to cause cancer. Other VOC creating industries include chlorofluorocarbons which are used to make cleaning materials.

Thermal oxidizers work by connecting to the manufacturing machines at the processing plants. As the VOC’s are created during the heating process, the gases are funneled through ducts into the thermal oxidizer. The oxidizer then heats the gases to extremely high temperatures until the dangerous contaminants are reduced to CO2and H2O.and nontoxic air is left. The harmless gases are then released into the air.

Each country and state have their own codes and regulations for the amount of VOC’s that are allowed to be dispersed into the air, water, and land. For the specific regulations in your area, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information.

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Gardens by the Bay, Annealing at its Finest

The perfectly named “Gardens by the Bay” attraction in Singapore is one of the most impressive and beautiful in the world. The grounds include 250 acres of gourmet restaurants, one of kind tropical gardens; showcase areas, and a skywalk with breathtaking views of the bay. The entire venue is marveled as one of the world’s most beautiful and unique structures that wouldn’t be possible without the heat treat process called, annealing.

During processing, metals become overworked, brittle, and can crack. Annealing is the process in metal working that is performed in order to relieve stresses in the material. Materials are heated above their critical temperature and are allowed to slowly cool and regain their strength and original structure. On a molecular level, annealing provides an environment for the molecules which were separated by the original heating process, to recombine. This gives metals increased ductility and malleability. Annealing metals causes them to perform much better during machining.

The amazing structures at the Gardens include the Supertrees grove, the Flower Dome conservatory, the Cloud Forest Dome conservatory, and many other small gardens.  While the Supertrees provide solar power to the park as well as shade, rain collection, and ventilation for the large structures, it is the two conservatories that are the real architectural masterpieces.

The Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest Dome biomes are the world’s largest glasshouses. Each dome was constructed with a specially annealed dual structure gridshell accompanied by unique lightweight arches. In order to allow as much natural light as possible, the dome arches had to be extremely thin but strong. These huge conservatries are each twice the size of a football field and the dome is constructed mainly of glass. The annealing process allowed the thin grid work to be able to support these immense structures as well as providing stability against the strong winds that blow in the marina while using a fraction of the metal typically required.

Gardens by the Bay is the recipient of many architectural awards including Building and Construction Authorities’ prestigious Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award in 2012 and the World Building of the Year at World Architecture Festival Awards 2012.