Carbon Molecular Sieve and Producing Nitrogen Lasers
First invented in 1960 the laser was first called the solution looking for a problem. More than fifty years later lasers have become an invaluable part of human technology. Today uses for lasers range from being used in material processing endeavors such as laser cutting, welding, and bending, to reading bar-codes when you purchase something at a store, to being used by the military as a targeting sight, and even being used to do surgery (laser eye surgery being the one of the most common).
As technology has improved many different types of lasers have been developed. One of the more common types of lasers developed was the nitrogen laser. This laser uses nitrogen as a medium and an electrical discharge to create its beam.
Nitrogen lasers are particular useful in handling material processing functions for example they are good at cutting metal. However material processing functions require that lasers be efficient and cost effective and that is where nitrogen generation systems play an important role.
In order for the laser to function it needs pure nitrogen (between 97%-99.99%). The most common type of technology used in purifying nitrogen is membrane technology. This method is able to produce nitrogen up to 99%. However if that amount of nitrogen purity is not enough to generate a laser. Depending on what you are using the laser for the nitrogen may not be purified enough.
In order to get the purest form of nitrogen a PSA system and a carbon molecular sieve is needed. The PSA system, air compressor, and carbon molecular sieve work when the air compressor forces compressed air into the PSA system. Naturally compressed air is composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and less than 1% of various other gases, the same air that makes up the air in our atmosphere.
Once this air enters the PSA system the carbon molecular sieve adsorbs all of the oxygen and other gases, the nitrogen is able to pass by because it is not attracted to the carbon molecular sieve and it is then guided into a storage tank (See our earlier article on adsorption with carbon molecular sieve). Once the carbon molecular sieve reaches its adsorption capacity it can be regenerated so that it can be used over and over again.
The end result of this is process is that you have now produced nitrogen that is between 99%-99.99% pure. This highly pure form of nitrogen is useful for cutting through tougher and thicker metals.