Most people know that carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the natural byproduct of breathing. What a lot of people may not know—unless they have a keen interest in chemistry—is that under normal conditions, CO2 is never a liquid. At sufficiently low temperatures, the chemical goes directly from being a gas to being a solid.
To get CO2 to become a liquid, it has to be subjected to extreme pressure. How much pressure? According to Sciencing.com, liquid carbon dioxide can be created if you have pressures of “5.1 atmospheres, which is about 75 pounds per square inch, and keep the temperature below minus 69 degrees Fahrenheit.” With higher pressures, CO2 can be liquefied at higher temperatures.
Some manufacturers use incredibly sophisticated equipment to create, store, and use liquid CO2 as a part of their processes. In fact, a manufacturer that specializes in using liquid carbon dioxide in a refinement process reached out to Marlin Steel for a custom wire basket for use in a high-pressure chamber where liquid CO2 would be flowed through the chamber, and the basket, from one end to the other—at pressures of around 3,000 psi and temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius (212°F).
Designing a Better CO2 Wire Basket for the Client’s Needs
For this basket, the client specified a number of requirements. First, and foremost, the basket needed to be durable enough to withstand repeated exposure to the carbon dioxide refinement process, since each basket could be expected to be used at least 3-4 times each day for use with various organic compounds. As such, a highly-resistant grade of stainless steel, such as grade 316 SS, was determined to be the best fit for the client’s application.
Second, the basket needed to maximize the flow of the CO2 from one end to the other. The liquid had to be able to freely pass through the entirety of the basket because any restrictions in flow would negatively impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. So, the client specifically requested an ultra-fine wire mesh that was only 100 microns (0.00393701”) in diameter.
Third, the baskets would be fitted inside of a cylindrical vessel with internal dimensions of 700mm (27.5591”) in length and 100mm (3.93701”) in diameter. So, the external dimensions of the basket could not exceed these dimensions. This posed a major challenge, as the basket needed to be able to lock closed to keep the materials locked inside—so large, secure external latches would reduce the size of the basket.
Finally, the client needed the basket to be easy to remove from the vessel once the refinement process was completed. For this, small, hinged handles were added to the basket to make it easier to grasp. These handles were shaped to take advantage of small fillet lips on either end of the vessel.
Making Sure the Design Would Work
To ensure that the design was space efficient and met all of the client’s needs, Marlin’s engineering team needed as many details about the equipment and process as possible. The design was then run through a physics simulation program to find any potential faults—such as the ultra-fine wires breaking or bending under the 3,000 psi pressure flow of liquid CO2.
Each time the design failed a test, the cause of the failure was noted so it could be used to refine the design. The design went through a few iterations as the team changed shapes, wire placement/thickness, materials, and other design features to maximize the useful life of the basket for the client’s application.
The end result was a rugged, robust custom wire basket for the client’s carbon dioxide-based refinement process—one that could survive continuous exposure to hot CO2 and random organic compounds day in and day out while being subjected to intense pressures.
Once the design was finalized, Marlin's production team programmed the specifications into a variety of automated manufacturing machines to produce the parts for the basket to micrometer-tight tolerances.
Need a custom steel wire form for a major project? One where precision, durability, and consistent quality are a must? Get a quote from Marlin Steel today, and see why leading manufacturing companies like Boeing work with our custom wire forms!