Woodfired ovens are heavy, sturdy bits of kit. They have to be to withstand the inevitable temperature extremes they are subjected to. There are only a few elements which can survive such an onslaught day after day. We have experimented with most of them. We also tested various production methods, materials and grades of concrete in our endless pursuit for the ultimate balance between affordability and lasting strength. Our tests revealed steel fibre strengthened ovens last longer and perform better. Here we explain how.
In all the years we have been making and using Blistering Woodfired Ovens, we have learned a thing or two about the materials and methods which work best. We have been trying to perfect an oven which not only gives the food an efficient even roast, but also endures, survives and last longer through the inevitable onslaught of fire they are subjected to.
Characteristics of Concrete Strength
There is nothing new about strengthening concrete with steel, but it is important to get the method and quantity correct for its particular application. Typically there are three characteristics which can be tested in concrete when it is heated: Compressive Strength, Split Tensile Strength and Flexural Strength. The first two of these are appropriate when concrete is used for construction purposes. The third, flexural strength, is the measure of its durability when the substance itself expands or compacts as a result of temperature change.
We tested various combinations such as mesh, rods and even rings before settling on steel fibres to strengthen Blistering Woodfired Ovens. Fibres, it was found, provide the most effective texture for resilience in a heated environment.
Finding our unique formula for optimum flexural strength
Next we needed to find the optimum ratio of steel fibres to concrete mix when the base temperature was changed repeatedly between 0°C and 350°C. We experimented with various ratios and types of steel before settling on our unique formula for optimum flexural strength in an oven base.
Comparatively speaking, a metre-wide oven may be considered small in its volume of concrete, but the heat it is exposed to is greater than most other applications. Our tests needed to include different thicknesses too, as well as different concrete:fibre ratios. The outcome has provided the most significant development in our manufacturing process ever: The Steel Fibre Strengthened Oven. Nothing lasts for ever, but we want our ovens to last and perform better for the longest.