Thermal transport due to material and gas flow in a furnace for drawing an optical fiber

S. Roy Choudhury, Y. Jaluria

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The transport processes involved in the neck-down region for optical fiber drawing are numerically investigated. In this manufacturing process, a moving glass rod is heated in a furnace containing an inert gas environment and drawn into a thin optical fiber. The conjugate problem is solved considering both radiation and convection, with focus on the latter. Two different flow configurations, involving inert gas flow in the same as well as in the opposite direction as the moving preform/fiber, are considered in this study. A coordinate transformation is used to change the complicated computational domains in the gas and the fiber to cylindrical ones. The transport in the fiber is coupled with that in the gas through the boundary conditions. The radiative thermal transport is calculated using an enclosure model developed in an earlier study. The numerical results on convective flow and transport are validated by comparing with results available in the literature for simpler configurations. The effects of several important parameters such as fiber draw speed, inert gas velocity, furnace dimensions, and gas properties on the flow and temperature distributions are investigated. For the aiding flow case, in which the inert gases flow in the same direction as the fiber, heat transfer to the fiber increases as the gas velocity increases. For opposing flow, a recirculating region appears in the gas, close to the moving fiber surface, causing reduction in heat transfer as compared to the aiding case. The thickness of this recirculating zone decreases with increasing inert gas velocity. Radiation is found to be the dominant mode of heat transfer in the overall heating of the preform/fiber, with nitrogen as the inert gas. However, near the edges of the furnace, radiation heat transfer is relatively small and convection becomes very important. Also, the convective transfer rate is relatively large near the flow entrance because of the large temperature difference between the gas and the fiber. However, away from the entrance, the gas heats up and the temperature difference relative to the fiber decreases, resulting in a smaller convective heat transfer rate. The relevance of the results to various aspects of the fiber-drawing process is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-503
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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