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1. WO2020112393 - APPARATUSES AND METHODS FOR HEATING AND COOLING GLASS TUBING

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

Wliat is claimed is:

1. A muffle for a glass tube forming process, the muffle

comprising: an inlet end coupled to a bowl for producing

glass tubing;

an outlet end, wherein an inner dimension of the muffle at the outlet end is greater than an inner dimension of the muffle at the inlet end;

a sidewall extending from the inlet end to the outlet end, wherein a radial

distance from a center axis of the muffle to an inner surface of the sidewall increases from the inlet end to the outlet end and the sidewall is substantially free of abrupt changes in the radial distance from the center axis to the inner surface that produce instability regions within the muffle; and

a channel positioned between an outer surface of at least a portion of the

sidewall and an insulating layer disposed about the sidewall, the channel operable to pass a heat transfer fluid into thermal communication with the sidewall to control a temperature of at least a portion of the inner surface of the sidewall.

2. The muffle of claim 1, wherein changes in the radial distance from the center axis to the inner surface of the muffle per centimeter of axial length of the muffle have an absolute value less than 0.635 cm at all positions on the inner surface of the sidewall between the inlet end and the outlet end.

3. The muffle of claim 1 , wherein a slope of a plot of radial distance from the center axis of the muffle to the inner surface of the sidewall as a function of axial position has an absolute value less than or equal to 2 along the axial length of the muffle between the inlet end and the outlet end, wherein the slope of the plot of radi al di stance as a function of axial position is determined as an average slope over a change in axial position of at least 0.25 inches (0.635 cm).

4. The muffl e of claim 1 , wherein the inner surface of the sidewall is free of

step changes in the radial distance from the center axis of the muffle to the inner surface of the sidewall of greater than 0.25 inches (0.635 cm).

5. The muffle of claim 1 , wherein at least a portion of the sidewall is

frustoconical or bell -shaped.

6. The muffle of claim 1, wherein the channel comprises a channel inlet and a channel outlet.

7. The muffle of claim 6, wherein the channel inlet is proximate the inlet end of the muffle relative to the channel outlet.

8. The muffle of claim 1 , wherein the channel comprises a plurality of channels fluidly isolated from each other.

9. The muffle of claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of channels is annular and the plurality of channels are axially arranged.

10. The muffle of claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of channels is oriented longitudinally so that the channel inlet and the channel outlet are axially spaced apart and the plurality of channels are arranged radially around the outer surface of the sidewall.

11. The muffle of claim 8, wherein the plurality of channels includes a

plurality of transverse channels and a plurality of longitudinal channels.

12. The muffle of claim 1, wherein the channel is fluidly coupled to a heat exchanger.

13. The muffle of claim 1, wherein an upper section of the sidewall defines an upper portion of the muffle proximate the inlet end and a lower section of the sidewall extends from the upper section of the sidewall to the outlet end and defines a lower portion of the muffle proximate the outlet end, wherein a diameter of the lower section of the sidewall increases from the upper section of the sidewall to the outlet end.

14. The muffle of claim 13, wherein the lower section of the sidewall is frustoconical or curved.

15. The muffle of claim 13, wherein the upper section of the sidewall is cylindrical.

16. The muffle of claim 13, wherein the channel comprises at least one lower channel disposed between an outer surface of the lower section of the sidewall and the insulating layer.

17. The muffle of claim 16, wherein the lower channel comprises a plurality of lower channels fluidly isolated from each other.

18. The muffle of claim 13, wherein the channel comprises at least one upper channel disposed between an outer surface of the upper section of the sidewall and the insulating layer.

19. The muffle of claim 1 , further comprising at least one heating element in thermal communication with at least a portion of the sidewall.

20. A system for producing glass tubing, the system

comprising: a bowl comprising:

at least one cylindrical container having an orifice ring extending from a bottom of the cylindrical container, the orifice ring defining an orifice in the bottom of the cylindrical container; and a blow tube disposed within the cylindrical container and extending through the orifice, the blow tube operable to deliver a gas flow proximate the orifice ring; and

a muffle comprising:

an inlet end coupled to the bowd;

an outlet end having an inner dimension larger than an inner dimension of the inlet end:

a sidewall extending from the inlet end to the outlet end, wherein a radial distance from a center axis of the muffle to an inner surface of the sidewall increases from the inlet end to the outlet end and the inner surface of the sidewall is substantially free of abrupt changes in the radial distance from the center axis to the inner surface that produce instability regions within the muffle; and

a channel positioned between an outer surface of the sidewall and an insulating layer disposed about the sidewall, the channel operable to pass a heat transfer fluid into thermal communication with the sidewall to provide cooling to the sidewall;

wherein the muffle is operable to control a temperature of the glass tubing drawn from the bowl.

21. The system of claim 20, further comprising a tube runway disposed below the muffle, the tube runway comprising a diabolos and a heat transfer zone.

22. The system of claim 20, wherein changes in the radial distance from the center axis to the inner surface of the muffle per centimeter of axial length of the muffle have absolute values less than 0.635 cm at all positions on the inner surface of the sidewall between the inlet end and the outlet end.

23. The system of claim 20, wherein at least a portion of the sidewall is frustoconical or bell-shaped.

24. The system of claim 20, wherein an upper section of the sidewall defines an upper portion of the muffle proximate the inlet end and a lower section of the sidewall extends from the upper section of the sidewall to the outlet end and defines a lower portion of the muffle proximate the outlet end, wherein a diameter of the lower section of the sidewall increases from the upper section of the sidewall to the outlet end.

25. The system of claim 20, wherein the channel comprises a plurality of channels

fluidly isolated from each other.

26. The system of claim 25, wherein the plurality of channels comprise at least one lower channel disposed between an outer surface of a lower section of the sidewall and the insulating layer and at least one upper channel disposed between an outer surface of an upper section of the sidewall and the insulating layer.

27. A glass tube forming process

comprising: drawing glass tubing

from a bowl;

passing the glass tubing through a muffle comprising:

an inlet end having an inlet positioned to receive the glass tubing

from the bowl;

an outlet end having an inner dimension larger than an inner dimension of the inlet end; and

a sidewall extending from the inlet end to the outlet end, wherein a radial distance from a center axis of the muffle to the inner surface of the sidewall increases from the inlet end to the outlet end and the inner surface of the sidewall is substantially free of abrupt changes in the radial distance from the center axis to the inner surface that produce instability regions within the muffle; and

cooling the glass tubing passing through the muffle, wherein cooling the glass tubing comprises passing a heat transfer fluid through a channel positioned between an outer surface of a portion of the sidewall and an insulating layer disposed about the sidewall, wherein the channel is in thermal communication with the sidewall.

28. The glass tube forming process of claim 27, wherein at least a portion of the sidewall is frustoconical or bell-shaped.

29. The glass tube forming process of claim 27, wherein the channel comprises a

plurality of channels fluidly isolated from each other.

30. The glass tube forming process of claim 27, wherein cooling the glass tubing passing through the muffle further comprises controlling at least one heating element in thermal communication with the outer surface of the sidewall.

31. The glass tube forming process of claim 27, further comprising passing the glass tubing to a tube runway.