ICE JET TECHNOLOGY

Abstract

Ice jet technology also known as ice abrasive water jet (IAWJ) is a prototype technology currently under development. In IAWJ technology ice particles made from water are used instead of mineral abrasive. The aim is to increase the productivity of pure water jet (WJ) while keeping its advantages, producing no other waste product but water. Technology has great potential to be used in food and medical industries as well as other areas where cleanliness of the process and no additional waste product is of high priority. In order to use ice as an abrasive it has to be used at extremely low temperatures where its mechanical properties such as hardness become usable for machining applications. The paper presents the latest findings and achievements of IAWJ technology as well as the approaches and methodology used during its development. Two approaches to obtain ice particles in the water are studied, namely generation of ice particles in the cutting head during the machining process and generation of ice particles outside of the cutting head which are added to the jet similarly as in injection AWJ technology. The main challenge is to provide very cold and thus hard ice particles in the cutting zone where they are used as an abrasive and maintaining the system stability. It is therefore essential to monitor and control the temperatures occurring in the system. The presence of ice particles inside the jet could not be directly identified due to instrument limitations. Positive effect of ice on cutting efficiency was observed but could not be sufficiently studied due to instabilities present in the current state of the prototype.   

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