Solar Furnace

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

solar furnace

[′sō·lər ′fər·nəs]
An image furnace in which high temperatures are produced by focusing solar radiation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Solar Furnace


an apparatus that uses concentrated solar radiation to melt materials or to subject them to heat treatment. The principal components of a solar furnace are a short-focus concentrator of solar radiation, a receiver (the furnace proper), and an automatic tracking system, which follows the motion of the sun and continuously turns the concentrator so that its axis is always directed toward the sun.

The receiver is positioned in the focal region of the concentrator and consists of a chamber with a transparent window. In this chamber there may be created, for example, a vacuum or an atmosphere of an inert gas. Frequently the chamber is a crucible made from a material that is to be melted or subjected to heat treatment. The operating temperature can reach 3600°. In many cases, the solar furnace is equipped with an orientating device consisting of a plane mirror that directs the sun’s rays to the concentrator; the orientating device follows the sun, and the concentrator remains stationary. Owing to their high cost, solar furnaces are used only when it is necessary to create special (“sterile”) conditions for melting and heat treatment that prevent the introduction of impurities into the material being processed.

As of 1975, the largest solar furnace was located at Odeillo in France. The diameter of its concentrating mirror is 54 m, and its power output is ~1 megawatt.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The firm expects its customer to place additional orders for sapphire chambers and solar furnaces after having completed testing and approval of the initial units.
The solar furnace is in Hyuga s Mimitsu district which is regarded as the birthplace of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
When the ideas of Winston's group first became known, they coincided with SERI's need to develop a solar furnace for use in experiments on a number of new ideas for industrial applications requiring high concentrations, including materials processing, materials surface engineering, and photochemistry.
The major implications of solar thermal services have led to the restoration of energy in the form of solar water heating, solar heating of buildings, solar greenhouses, solar furnaces, solar drying of agricultural and animal products, solar distillation, solar pumping, solar thermal power production, solar cooking, and solar electric power generation.
Besides wind power, Giun's research projects include solar drying apparata for farms, integrated wind and solar power complexes for generating electricity and pumping water, the development of solar "photaic" bio-reactors for breeding microscopic algae, and solar furnaces for high-temperature studies.
Such a mechanism would conveniently work for smaller concentrating devices, such as solar furnaces.
The developed countries are already ahead of us n the development of solar furnaces, and although we come under the category of Sunbelt nations, we continue to lag behind.
The latest $81.7 million for solar equipment came on top of its largest order ever--a $460 million deal with a Chinese company for GT Solar furnaces that are used to produce sapphire crystals for LED lighting.
The two men have developed four types of solar furnaces, the solar box cooker, solar panel cooker, solar basket cooker and parabolic solar cooker, all of which can be purchased by the public.