Stopping viruses the high-temperature way
Reliable material is vital for the Japanese company Oparz to produce the 3D Heater, a metal filter solution that uses heat to sterilize the air in hospital environments. The technology could be helpful in fighting the spread of the coronavirus disease Covid-19.
The 3D Heater developed by the Japanese company Oparz has never been more crucial to the present moment than in the current coronavirus pandemic. As part of the company’s Perfect Clean solution, which includes a blower and an air-cooled heat exchanger, the 3D Heater acts as a metal filter that effectively burns bacteria and virus into harmless ash, resulting in a sterile room for medical staff to work in.
At the core of the 3D Heater is a porous aggregate called Palblat. It is a metallic foil between 15 and 50 micrometers thick, processed with microscopic through-holes evenly throughout the foil and with burrs on both sides.
To form the 3D Heater, electrodes are attached before the Palblat is rolled into a coil and bound together using aluminum oxide tape. Depending on the application, the Palblat is either rolled with aluminum oxide tape in between layers of Palblat for insulation purposes, or without the aluminum oxide tape forming aluminum oxide directly on the flattened Palblat.
When used in the Perfect Clean solution, the 3D Heater is heated to at least 350 degrees Celsius, a temperature proven to be high enough to burn any dust, pollen, bacteria or virus into ashes.
High quality secures high safety
Material quality is of the utmost importance when your product aims to terminate infectious viruses, which is why Oparz has chosen to use the Kanthal® AF ferritic iron-chromium-aluminum alloy to produce its 3D Heater. The alloy is characterized by high oxidation resistance and good form stability, resulting in long element life.
“We have used the Kanthal AF alloy since 2017 and have found that its uniform heating performance is good,” says Shinsuke Ohara, president and founder of Oparz. “It has good stability as temperatures rise, and the constant heating mode works well.
“Someone might question why we don’t use ordinary stainless steel, considering that 350 degrees Celsius is a quite low temperature for Kanthal’s material,” he says. “Then we would reply that yes, we could use such material, but the product lifetime would be much shorter and the safety allowance on such material would be much lower.”
Oparz was a finalist for the 2016 Kanthal® Award. Watch our video here: