Glass-making in the West Midlands town of Stourbridge dates back to the 17th Century when glassmakers were attracted to the region for the rich natural resources of coal and fireclay for lining furnaces.
Apollo Furnaces are a start-up company in Stourbridge working to develop a new way of melting glass and when they needed help to calculate the temperature of heater elements in their hi-tech, glass-making furnace they contacted the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham for their advice.
With experience in both thermal physics and computer modelling, Dr Neil Thomas was keen to take on the challenge of developing a mathematical model that would help the Company to optimise their furnace design. To keep costs down, essential for a small start-up company, and to provide answers quickly Dr Thomas produced a simplified physical model that would help Apollo during the prototype development process.
“This model immediately answered some very important questions for us before we took our product to market and it has the potential to be refined and extended in the future as our Company grows.”