Tech Briefs

Quick-Change Ceramic Flame Holder for High-Output Torches

In addition to jet engine simulation, this technology can be used in torches for forging and pottery kilns.

Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center have developed a new ceramic design flame holder with a service temperature of 4,000 °F (2,204 °C). The combination of high strength and high temperature capability, as well as a twist-lock mounting method to the steel burner, sets this flame holder apart from existing technology.

This design features the following:

  • Enables about double the torch output without damaging the torch.
  • Can operate at a higher temperature [4,000 °F (2,204 °C)] than stainless steel [1,600 °F (870 °C)].
  • Allows the torch to be optimized for different applications (e.g., may use a mixing nozzle or a supersonic nozzle).
  • Can be used with either venturi or forced draft burners.
  • Is easily replaceable without tools. • Operates without torch/holder rusting together after use.
  • Permits a modified torch to still use a conventional flame holder.
  • Uses a twist-lock attachment (an improvement over setscrews).

The high-output flame holder was developed in support of the U.S. Navy’s efforts to design a jet engine simulator for infrared plume studies. Previous tests had shown that off-the-shelf components would melt or burn up in a short time. Given these design and performance criteria, NASA developed a ceramic flame holder that has a much longer life cycle and can be used with a variety of torches or burners. Where the stainless flame holders showed signs of oxidation, flaking after only three hours of testing, NASA’s ceramic flame holder has over 150 hours and 200 cycles of use in a casting furnace, and soot marks are the only signs of use; there are no signs of deterioration. NASA expects the new technology to help enhance safety through increased reliability and flame control. The total cost of ownership is less due to decreased maintenance and improved efficiency.

This work was done by Henry Haskin of Langley Research Center. For further information, contact the Langley Innovative Partnerships Office at (757) 864-8881. LAR-17502-1