The glass is used to form mirrors that are placed on a telescope and deployed into space to help scientists detect and study X-rays.
L&L Special Furnace Co., Inc. has shipped a series of box furnaces for the NASA Goddard Space Flight center in Greenbelt, Md. L&L has worked with NASA on this project since 1997; the current production requirement called for 10 model XLE3648 furnaces supplied in a six- to eight-week delivery timeframe.
The primary purpose of the furnaces is to slump glass. A piece of glass is placed on a mandrel inside the furnace and heated to 1400°F. The glass is then removed from the furnace and covered in a reflective gold filament to form a mirror, which is used in conjunction with others to form a mirror assembly that is placed on a telescope and deployed into space. The telescope helps scientists detect and study X-rays emitted from black holes, dark matter, neutron stars and other phenomena. The critical requirement is to produce in excess of 300 mirrors per month to meet the required total of 16,000 mirrors.
The XLE series furnaces offer many control options, including ramp/soak program controls, temperature recorders and SCR power controls. Process accessories, such as inert atmosphere blanketing and manual or powered venting, are also available.
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