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Snow fails to stop delivery of 1800c furnace to University of Warwick

Snow may be hampering Christmas deliveries but it has failed to stop the delivery of University Warwick’s Professor Phil Mawby’s Christmas present - a special furnace that can reach 1800 degrees centigrade.

The weather outside may be frightful, but this furnace will raise temperatures in Professor Mawby’s lab to a blistering 1800oC, 500oC higher than traditional silicon furnaces. It will be used to make Power Semiconductor devices in Silicon Carbide, a material which is revolutionizing electrical energy management.

Taking delivery of the new furnace this week, Professor Mawby said:

“We are delighted to have this new furnace; it will allow us to really push the boundaries of what we know about silicon carbide and how it functions under such intense temperatures. This will allow us as a university to make great strides in developing the material for use in energy management and hopefully find a means of using the material to run electrical energy in a much more efficient manner.”

“Silicon Carbide is the next-generation semiconducting material. It is very similar to silicon but a much smaller piece of the material can perform the same functionality, meaning space and weight are saved, and less heat is lost.”

This new equipment has been funded by the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) Energy Efficiency Project. The Energy Efficiency Project is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund in the research infrastructure of the West Midlands region, which unites the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick in a strategic research partnership – SCRA – formed under the Birmingham Science City initiative.

The £10.5m Energy Efficiency project has already invested £1.8m in a state of the art cleanroom at the University of Warwick which has the capability to manufacture the complete Silicon Carbide device process.

Notes to Editors

The Science City Research Alliance project is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and ERDF in the research infrastructure of the West Midlands region, which unites the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick in a newly-formed Science City Research Alliance. For more information log on to

Birmingham Science City is a region-wide partnership of public sector, businesses and the research base, which is facilitating the use of science and technology to improve the quality of life and prosperity of the West Midlands. Funded by Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham Science City’s aim is to create strategies to exploit centres of world-class scientific research, by developing relevant activities for sustainable economic and social benefit.

For more information contact Luke Hamer, Assistant Press Officer, University of Warwick, on 02476 575601, or on 07824 541142. Alternatively email