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Development of oxy-hydrogen flame for welding, cutting and brazing (SafeFlame)
Start date: Nov 1, 2011, End date: Oct 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The oxy-acetylene flame has been used very widely in industry for many years and enjoys several positive characteristics including a high combustion temperature, wide availability, trained workforce and process versatility. However, it also has some drawbacks which are becoming more significant with increasing health and safety and environmental concerns; having significant quantities of highly combustible gases is undesirable; dedicated training on safety aspects of handling oxy-acetylene; the production and transportation of large quantities of combustible gas is damaging to the environment.In project SafeFlame, an alternative to oxy-acetylene heating will be developed, validated and exploited, particularly for SME fabricators.Oxy-hydrogen flames can be generated by the combustion of oxygen and hydrogen produced locally using an electrochemical cell. This approach has the following advantages over oxy-acetylene heating:•The cell is highly portable, reducing transportation costs and increasing the flexibility of the process.•The fuel is water which is widely available and low cost.•The process requires electricity to generate the gases but is >60% efficient.•Storage of combustible gas is eliminated•The system can be deployed flexibly and is cost-effective compared with oxy-acetylene.•Control over the combustion process will enable reducing or oxidising conditions to prevail during the heating process.The aim is to develop and validate the use of oxy-hydrogen combustion as an alternative to oxy-acetylene, for applications which could include precision welding, brazing and soldering, cutting, repair and heat treatment.The project will involve the specification of the required heating for a given application, different design(s) of electrolyser, the design of heating torch (including process modelling) tailored to the application, product integration, process trials and validation, the development of case studies, dissemination activities and training.
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