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Eureka aims to magic ceramics into fibres

European research network Eureka has launched a project to design an industrial system capable of creating fine mineral fibres from ceramic materials, using a super-hot plasma jet reactor.

This could convert materials such as sand, dolomite and glass waste into an "ultra thin mineral fibre used for wide range applications", according to a Eureka.

These could include thermal insulation for the building industry, high temperature insulation, decorative coatings and a substrate for catalytic converters.

Eureka said mineral fibres can already be produced from ceramics, but existing practices involve melting materials in a furnace and then further mechanical fibrillation, requiring "complex and expansive equipment and uninterrupted fabrication technologies".

The plasma reactor system would be simpler, said the note. This project has a launch budget of €350,000, but funding is expected to grow once additional research partners participate.

It is scheduled to last until 2008 and is currently led by the Lithuanian Energy Institute.

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