Rockwood have built up a significant background and expertise in the application of composite structures for the cryogenic industry ranging from suspension bands through to high voltage high stress insulation systems.

Rockwood work hand in hand with system builders to design and optimise suspension system design that meets the installation, fatigue and thermal load requirements to a very cost conscious industry. We deliver complete suspension systems including termination fixtures, thermal links and super insulation.

Our unique and patented band termination provides one of the cheapest methods available, and can be used with all the traditional high strength, non-magnetic materials.

 

Cryogenics and Fusion Reactor Components 

Our glass and carbon bands are manufactured from pre-preg materials not filament wound, which has  traditionally been the primary method. This means very tight control of material properties and high deposit rate in the manufacturing process resulting in the ultimate performance achievable, delivered at a low price.
The starting point for any band design is the ultimate strength requirement, thermal conductivity and the physical installation.
To achieve the maximum performance, fibre alignment is the key factor. This is achieved with our dedicated winding process using our custom winding machine with precise tension and position control of the fibres. This is followed by a high pressure consolidation and curing process. We manufacture wide blanks which are then accurately machined to the required size.
 
 

Design and Analysis

The starting point for any band design is the ultimate strength requirement, the thermal conductivity and the physical installation. We provide customers with design support of the structural members and the interface hardware.

 

Testing

 

When materials are used so close to their ultimate strength capability, testing it finds the small design issues that make all the difference. We pride ourselves in providing top performance structures that have been proven by testing in both static and fatigue, right across the temperature spectrum.

 

High Voltage Cryogenic Electrical Insulation Systems

Rockwood have been involved with the development of a number of novel glass/polyimide insulation systems that are very stress demanding and have zero void content requirements.

Bonding methods of electrical insulation material to large structural components have been developed to provide exceptional bond line thickness control.

 
Coil Support Structures
Wire tray with encapsulated high purity aluminium, insulated structural bearing pads, gradient mandrels, insulated shear pins and wire guides.

Fusion reactor development and components 

 

Rockwood Composites has been heavily involved in the development of components for fusion reactors primarily focusing on our experience with composites operating at cryogenic temperatures. Our main focus of fusion reactor research and development has been through our participation in creating components for Tokomak Energy in the UK and with the ITER project (International thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), based in france, which we are privileged to be able to contribute to, so that these mammoth undertakings can yield the energy revolution that the world so desperately needs.

 

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)

Here we see our engineers working to assemble the central column to go into the heart of the reactor where superheated plasma will course around as it is contained by the immense magnetic fields.

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)

 

The scale of the ITER project is immense and reflects the scale of the technological undertaking that it sets out to achieve. As the technologies which powers and underpins the components of the reactor are still maturing, there is much to develop as the monumental challenge of bringing the reactor online is brought to life. By conducting R&D, producing technology demonstrators and manufacturing components, Rockwood has been all to happy to assist with this herculean multinational project.

Here we see a cross section from a superconducting buzzbar to confirm the absence of voids in the composite which will be to vital to avoid when it is operating at cryogenic temperatures.

Rockwood operates closely with proficient composite test centres such as CTE, who evaluate our components enabling us to meet the desired specifications of the peice like this cryogenic load bearing strap pictured below.

Rockwood aims to be at the forefront of cryogenic composites, conducing groundbreaking work from MRI machines to fusion reactors. To find out more about how we can assist your project with our expertise in this field we recommend you get in touch to discuss it.