My Turbular Furnace Is Not Working?
Thursday, June 02, 2011
So, what happen on Friday?
I connected my online data logger to my laptop. I heat up the heating tape gradually. I switched on the online graph monitoring in the data logger software to monitor the temperature profile of each thermocouples fixed in several locations in my experimental rig. I saw the temperature increase for the heating tape thermocouple. However, the thermocouple temperature in the reactor did not raise (after I switched on my turbular furnace heating). This was strange. All this while, everything it's OK. So, it's trouble shooting time. I looked at the tubular furnace temperature display. To my surprise the temperature which I set to be 500oC is still maintained at 29oC. Oh my God... Is the tubular furnace spoil? I have just used it yesterday and it was just fine.
Troubleshooting the tubular furnace.
I turn off the helium gas from entering my reactor. I conditioned the GC. I then checked what's wrong with my tubular furnace. I attempted switching it on and off as well as changed the power supply socket. With the help of Mahadhir (my Ph.D colleague), we tried to play around with the temperature control display and investigated the setting and/or timer. Who knows this might be the reason the tubular furnace cannot heat up. Mahadhir also searched for the manual of this Carbolite tubular furnace and gave it to me. I spent quite some time digesting the information in the manual and try to relate it to the problem. By this time I already know that my Friday allocation for experiment is over. Worse case scenario is I have to spend another whole day to transfer my furnace (if it is spoil) with a spare furnace. That will definitely take one days work to do. We tried many things which also include the possibility of heater or filament spoil. However, deep in my heart, I believe that there must be a simple problem and a simple solution. But then, I cannot yet figure it out.
Accidental trouble shooting discovery
I almost get fed up and nearly decided to call for Carbolite engineer to come to see what is the problem. I sat on my tiny work station in the lab room. I look at my experimental rig from a distance (actually it is not that far - only about 1 meter). I wanted to see the overview of the problem and see if there is some possible solution. Then I noticed something!!!
I found that my tubular furnace was not closed and double clipped on. Oh my God... Maybe this was the culprit. I did not even close the furnace and decided to heat it up. Immediately I close the tubular furnace and clip them. I turned on the furnace heating and off it goes. The temperature increased. So, that was the thing. It was a silly mistake and a very simple solution. I just did not close the tubular reactor.
Morale of the story
I learn my lesson that day. I need to be more careful when running the experiment. It was my first silly mistake after many times running similar experiment. I also don't know why that happen. It must slipped my mind. In addition, I can also know another that the furnace heating would not turn on if it is not properly close. It took me 1 whole day to experience this... Haha..what a day...
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I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!