The drawing speeds employed in the manufacturing of optical fibers have been rising in recent years due to the growing worldwide demand. However, increasing speeds have placed stringent demands on the manufacturing process, mainly because of large temperature gradients that can generate thermally induced defects and undesirable variations in fiber characteristics. Heat transfer and glass flow that arise in drawing fibers of diameters 100–125 microns from cylindrical silica preforms of diameters 5–10 cm play a critical role in the success of the process and in the maintenance of fiber quality. This paper presents an analytical and numerical study of the optical fiber drawing process for relatively large diameter preforms and draw speeds as high as 20 m/s. The free surface which defines the neck-down profile is determined by a force balance and an iterative numerical scheme is employed to obtain the profile under steady conditions. The transport in the glass is calculated to obtain the temperature, velocity and defect distributions. The problem is complicated because of combined radiation, convection and conduction mechanisms that govern this important manufacturing process. A zone radiation model is used for calculating radiative transport within the glass. Because of the large reduction in the diameter of the preform/fiber, the velocity level increases dramatically and the geometry becomes complicated. A coordinate transformation is used to convert the domain to a cylindrical one. Wherever possible, the numerical results are compared with experimental and numerical results in the literature for smaller draw speeds for validation. The effects of high draw speeds and of other physical variables on defects generated in the fiber, on the neck-down profile, and on the relevant transport processes are determined.

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