15 years of building Piston Cylinders

15 years of building Piston Cylinders

Did you know we build and sell Piston Cylinder (PC) apparatus? We have been building piston cylinder apparatuses in the Earth Sciences workshop for over 15 years now. We have produced 12 that have been sent all over the world in our distinctive Oxford blue livery. Designed by  Prof Bernie Wood and Mr Fred Wheeler (a former workshop colleague in Bristol) the Piston Cylinder can reach pressures of 3 GPa and temperatures of 1700oC routinely. With care this range can be extended to 4 GPa and 2300oC.

The department of earth sciences has just taken delivery of its 3rd PC. This new piston cylinder will help produce results for many more papers written by the Experimental Petrology group here in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Here’s what Prof Bernie Wood had to say about the PC built in the Earth Science workshop:

“The piston cylinder was designed to be simple to build and operate, using standard hydraulic pumps and relatively inexpensive electronics. The idea was to minimise complexity and make it easy for students to use. One of our PC’s has done about 1500 experiments now and has only very recently had the only replacement part, a thyristor, fitted. We have just had an automatic pressure control system fitted to the other PC and this is now working well”

We also design and machine all of the consumables that are used with the Bristol style PC. Using CNC manufacturing means all of parts are machined to a precise size and will not vary allowing experiments to run smoothly.  We produce consumables and accessories in sizes used for the ½ inch, 3/4inch and 1inch experiments.

Using materials like Graphite, MgO, pyrophylite, Stainless, carbide and nickel capsules.

We also have the capability to design and manufacture complete Salt die sets and pressure plates with hardened steel or carbide inserts.

For any inquires please contact James King (workshop manager) on James.king@earth.ox.ac.uk

photo (c) John Cairns