Vortex Develops Titandrium Slide Gate to Shut off Volcano

Published: April 1, 2018

SAN PEDRO de CAPO, C.R. – The citizens of San Pedro de Capo, Costa Rica, can now rest easy, as the lava flow from Mount del Toro has finally been halted by a massive slide gate constructed of the revolutionary new metal compound, Titandrium.

The gate’s application is to seal off the vent of a volcano, preventing the escape of magma and ash to atmosphere. Actuating twice a day, the gate features a metered flow mechanism to limit the quantities of debris that escape the volcano, while also relieving the chemical pressures that would cause the structure to erupt through other fissures.

Special features of the gate include:

  • Constructed from 311 Grade Titandrium, with a heat resistance of 10,000° F
  • A 6’ – (2m) thick, Abrasion-Resistant Pyroclastic Blade
  • A Magma-Tectonic Air Cylinder, featuring a 50’ – (15m) bore by an 80’ – (25m) stroke.
  • Live-Loaded Magma Seals. These seals prevent the build-up of molten sediments in the valve’s “hidden areas,” eliminating the risk for mechanical failures and extending the gate’s life expectancy.
  • Capable of handling pressures up to 700 psi
  • A bore size of 165’ – (50m)
  • An electropolished blade through a chemical reaction between electricity and recycled, crushed igneous rocks. This makes the valve resistant to dacite, rhyolite, volcanic ash, volcanic glass and tephra in their most abrasive state at the lava dome.
  • A self-actuating blade, powered by a series of coils installed at the base of the volcano that relay pressures created by chemical reactions occurring inside the volcano.

The result? A special designed, Vortex-engineered solution that provides an excellent seal against the escape of tephra and molten lava.

“This project demonstrates – yet again – our willingness to tackle the most difficult applications,” said Cory Downing, Vice President of Engineering at Vortex. “Through many tests and hours of sweating atop the hottest surfaces on earth, we were able to develop a product that efficiently holds up to this application”

The sourcing of Titandrium has allowed Vortex, a Kansas-based manufacturer of slide gates, diverters and loading spouts, to penetrate new market segments. Previously, the company strictly serviced the dry bulk solids industry, providing customer solutions for the handling of dry materials in manufacturing processes. With access to this breakthrough alloy, Vortex has pioneered new demand for molten material handling.

The sales potential of this new market is significant. According to industry experts, the handling of molten materials is projected to grow 82% by 2040, creating sales potential of approximately $4 billion.

“The City of San Pedro de Capo could not be more proud to have worked with Vortex to find a solution for our dire volcanic needs,” said Mariano Carlos Garcia-Rivas, Mayor of San Pedro de Capo. “This gate has helped improve the lives of others and our community in a significant way, which is truly a joy.”