Towards the end of last week, I learned that the demolition of the IFRF IJmuiden Furnace House had commenced. So I had the opportunity to witness this sad event and to recollect our many colleagues who had worked there and contributed to the development the IFRF knowledge base.
Clearing the former IFRF Research station Site at IJmuiden
Director of the IFRF’s Netherlands office Neil Fricker and former IFRF Director Peter Roberts witness the final curtain for the IFRF’s IJmuiden test facility
This was the laboratory in which an impressive range of burner concepts were developed and tested for ultimate application in industry, based on the understanding of turbulent flame phenomena developed here and at associated university and industrial research laboratories. It was also a place where an impressive number of lasting friendships were made. The IJmuiden Furnace House and the International research teams which worked there, were undoubtedly the hub of the IFRF and the IFRF Network.
The IFRF was effectively born at IJmuiden as a result of international cooperation in the late 1940s which was based on an experimental furnace, the first “No 1 Furnace”, constructed by Royal Dutch Iron and Steel at IJmuiden in the Netherlands. The success of this initial cooperation in turn gave rise to the formation of the IFRF and the construction of the Research Station at IJmuiden in the mid 1950s. This facility contained several reconstructions of the IFRF No 1 furnace which remained essentially the heart of the IFRF work. All of these events and the subsequent history are well recorded in Roman Weber’s book “Spirit of IJmuiden” which gives a comprehensive review of both the characters and the events of the IFRF’s first 50 years.
The good news is of course is that the new IFRF offices in Livorno Italy are up and running, and that Director Leo Tognotti and his developing international team are taking forward the IFRF’s work Even better is the news of three weeks ago when we read that the IFRF flame is back!! (http://www.mnm.ifrf.net/mnm/article.html?aid=573). In these experiments the latest reconstruction of the IFRF No 1 furnace is fully operational and back in work for the IFRF Members.
Director Leo Tognotti and colleagues monitoring measurements in the new IFRF No 1 furnace at Livorno
So the IFRF lives on. The question of whether the IFRF was based at IJmuiden for 60 years or only 59 or 58 becomes less relevant than the fact that the relocation of the IFRF Research Station to Livorno has given the IFRF a bright new future. But of course we should not forget that it was based on almost 60 years of Research at IJmuiden and to thank KNHS-Hoogovens-Corus for having hosted IFRF throughout this period, and for the co-operation that brought the IFRF into existence.