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A thermal lance, thermic lance, oxygen lance, or burning bar is a tool that heats and melts steel in the presence of pressurized oxygen to create very high temperatures for cutting. It consists of a long steel tube packed with alloy steel rods, sometimes mixed with aluminium rods to increase the heat output. One end of the tube is placed in a holder and oxygen is fed through the tube.
The far end of the tube is pre-heated and lit by an oxyacetylene torch. An intense stream of burning steel is produced at the working end and can be used to cut rapidly through thick materials, including steel and concrete. The tube is consumed by the process within a few minutes.
Often used as a heavy duty demolition tool, the thermic lance is also used to remove seized axles of heavy machinery without damaging the bearings or axle housing. This technique is often used on the pins and axles of large equipment such as cranes, ships, bridges, and sluice-gates.
The temperature at which a thermal lance operates varies depending on the environment. Kosanke gives the maximum temperature to be 4500 °C (8130 °F), while Wang calculates it to be 2730 °C (4950 °F).
- LaGuardia, Thomas S. (2004). "Chapter 16.3: Characterization; Description of Select Technologies". The Decommissioning Handbook. New York: ASME Press. pp. 4‐46. ISBN 978-0-89448-041-6.
- Kosanke, B. J.; Sturman, B.; Kosanke, K.; von Maltitz, I.; Shimizu, T.; Wilson, M. A.; Kubota, N.; Jennings-White, C.; Chapman, D. (2004). Pyrotechnic Chemistry. Journal of Pyrotechnics. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-889526-15-7.
- Wang, Haorong; Hlavacek, Vladimir; Pranda, Pavol (2004). "Model Analysis of Thermal Lance Combustion". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 43 (16): 4703. doi:10.1021/ie030729r.