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Ultraviolet light is gaining adoption in advanced water and air purification, and ultra-pure quartz glass is vital to making systems more efficient and effective.

Pressing concerns about the presence of unhealthy microbial pathogens in air and water are being increasingly addressed through the use of ultraviolet (UV) light treatment systems in municipal water treatment plants, office buildings and even many of today's homes.

There is a growing concern about water due to the rapid decline of readily available potable water throughout the world, including the U.S. The use of UV disinfection technology promises to help make drinking water a more sustainable resource in regions where modern water treatment systems are in place. UV is also used for the removal of chemicals such as chlorine and ozone, and can be used to remove taste and odor compounds.

The material that enables UV light generation to be most effective in water or air treatment is fused quartz. A clear vitreous solid, formed by melting pure quartz, fused quartz can withstand high temperatures and is extremely transparent to ultraviolet radiation. Fused quartz can be extremely hard and transparent material. It is the preferred material where light transmission is concerned, because quartz transparency provides near perfect transmission across the spectrum, from UV to infrared.

In some cases, the use of quartz glass translates to more than twice the amount of ultraviolet output when compared to standard germicidal lamps of the same length.

"In most designs the ultraviolet light generator is a tubular lamp," explains James Horvath, president of Technical Glass Products (TGP), Painesville, OH, one of the nation's largest distributors and fabricators of fused quartz material.

"The lamp tubes are fitted or enveloped with quartz sleeves, a very simple operation with tube length, ID and wall thickness specified by the engineer in accordance with the system light fixtures. Typical sizes range from 18-45 mm ID with wall thicknesses between 1.25 and 1.50 mm, and are available in-stock with larger suppliers of fused quartz."

Like some other suppliers, TGP cuts quartz UV lamp tubes to the length required. As one of the nations leading quartz glass blowers, TGP can also form affordable tubes in the diameters, wall thicknesses and lengths that best fit custom applications.

In terms of water-borne pathogens, UV radiation, in cost-effective doses, effectively inactivates common pathogens such as Cryptosporidium (parasites that cause the intestinal infection cryptosporidiosis), Giardia (protracted, intermittent diarrhea suggestive of malabsorption, which can cause dysentery), as well as most bacterial pathogens.

Among common airborne pathogens, it is held that UV lights reduce concentrations of airborne contaminants as much as five percent (remaining from prior stages of treatment).

Although quartz may be considered a commodity or "generic" material, there can be a quality a difference. "Using the best raw materials, fused quartz is one of the purest materials available, having a nominal purity of up to 99.996 percent," explains Horvath. "The purity of fused quartz is highly beneficial to optical applications including light transmission, which makes it ideal for applications such as fiber optics, photovoltaic (e.g., solar and UV), as well as stringent laboratory uses."

Horvath said that the exceptional purity of quartz is unsurpassed in the glass industry, and is superior to borosilicate products. He adds that the optical purity of quartz may be equally important to many users in laboratory environments because a relatively broad range of light wavelengths pass unimpeded through clear fused quartz, which is especially important in UV disinfection applications.

In addition to sourcing high quality fused quartz at competitive prices, many users also look for suppliers who offer significant value-added services. "Highly experienced quartz glass blowers should offer a full range of ancillary services, including assistance with product design, applications and specifications, fabrication services, machining and assembly, and repair."

Founded in 1990, Technical Glass Products is a nationwide fabricator and distributor of fused quartz and borosilicate glass. The firm prides itself in offering a comprehensive raw quartz inventory, technical product assistance, and its capabilities of meeting the industry's most stringent standards and tolerances.

For more information, contact Technical Glass Products, 881 Callendar Blvd., Painesville, OH 44077 or call 440/639-6399 or visit
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Publication:Industrial Environment
Date:Jul 30, 2010

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