Initial data from testing on a nearly 10' wide (3 m) production-scale oxidation oven designed for carbon fiber manufacturing shows good temperature and air velocity uniformity. The data for the oven, which was manufactured by Buffalo-based Harper International, was acquired at temperatures up to 536°F (280°C) and air velocities up to ~13 ft/sec ( 4 m/sec). In the critical metric of air velocity uniformity, according to Harper, the oven measured 2.2 percent. It also demonstrated temperature uniformity of ±4.5°F (±2.5°C) throughout the entire heated length.
Air velocity uniformity across the entire tow band is critical as the PAN stabilization phase is an exothermic reaction. If there are low velocity regions, the reaction can cause deflagration. If there are high velocity regions, it can cause damage to the delicate PAN fiber.