Introduction Welcome to Standard Heater Tube, Inc.  You’ve come to the right place if you’re a smart scientist who is ready for the finest heater tube on the planet, because that’s what we make. Here you’ll find honest information leading to smart value and the finest test coupon available today. As established over the previous decade, we are the world’s leading producer of clean, chemically-inert heater tubes for the Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Stability Test (ASTM D3241).
The evidence in this figure clearly shows that when using a competing product, you can’t rate what you cannot see. With our product, you can clearly see, and then clearly rate, the deposit color. The most powerful advantage attributed to Standard Heater Tubes is this ability to enhance the accurate determination of fuel deposit colors. Such a color determination is the undisputed and fundamental purpose of testing via ASTM D3241. Incidentally, if you had a “camera” rather than a person making the color determinations, and the camera showed one tube as revealing more “red” than another, would you conclude that a camera is more trustworthy than a real person to evaluate tube deposits? Moral: beware of anyone proposing use of a video camera to evaluate tubes, deposit colors, or fuels. The judgment of an objective scientist in this matter is both essential and indispensable. Experiment: To prove out the equivalence of surfaces of various tube manufacturers, use the NBS-certified Surface Roughness Comparator available to top-notch machinists and metallurgists. This device, calibrated to National Bureau of Standards requirements, is based on an association between surface roughness and visual acuity, plus physical feel. It recognizes the reality that surface evaluation is fundamentally subjective. In short, you can “see” and you can “feel” different surface qualities (roughness) by comparing visually and tactually among surfaces. Using a set of such standards, it is easy to conclude that all tubes of viable manufacturers are at or below a “2 microinch” finish (The tube surface finish required of a new tube by D-3241). That modern suppliers easily meet this requirement should surprise nobody. Attempts to evaluate tube features by using surface profilometers have been made. British researchers compared tubes of the two equivalent manufacturers using surface profilometry, and more work is currently underway in the USA. However, a critical limitation of surface profilometry (applied to heater tube surfaces) is to only assess a surface in and along two-dimensions (length and height). The researcher confused actual surface quality with abstract surface-generated statistics. We need to use the correct tool to evaluate surface roughness. The Surface Comparitor is a tool for subjective roughness comparisons; it is one that is also standardized and calibrated for the purpose of making direct comparisons. The VTR is not. Fuel-associated deposits are rated using an arbitrary color scale. A rating of 0 or 1 represents a clean tube surface with essentially no deposits. At the other end of the scale, a rating of >4 represents the darkest, heaviest fuel deposits possible. If you are lucky, your fuel will fall cleanly at one of these extremes and make for an easy rating job. This is the purposeful nature of a pass-fail test. However, some fuels are more difficult to categorize. For these more difficult fuels, optical considerations and a Standard brand heater tube become even more important. In this situation a 3X magnification, as employed in the tuberater commonly used to evaluate fuel deposits, is often considered to be a crude, low, or poor magnification. Consequently lathe marks, (disguised by millions of supplemental abrasion marks which you also can't see at the poor 3X magnification), plus reflected images, dust, dirt, glare, and a variety of streaks and smudges can make viewing and rating the tube deposit --- if one is present at all --- more difficult. Also, other tube suppliers conventionally add millions of inherent scratch marks, gouges, harsh abrasions, and microabrasions to the tube. Some say this is tube “polishing.” But, the consequence of these scratches is to diffuse light away from the eye of the observer into countless randomly chosen directions. The result? It is harder to see, and to rate, nearby fuel-related deposits. Therefore, choose a tube source wisely. A person rating a borderline tube in this situation is like a city-dweller trying to evaluate bright stars on a cloudless night through the haze, dirt, and dust which accompany city living. That person may think the stars are not really very bright, and may not realize the problem isn’t with the stars; it’s a built-in characteristic of the environment. Diffusion is a random scattering of available light such as occurs, for example, with a "frosted" light bulb. Diffraction, or the bending of light around a corner, is due to the wave property of light. In refraction, the bending of light is at a distinct angle due to a change in medium density. Smart observers realize these phenomena as what they are: optical phenomena. They illustrate nothing at all about the surface of chemically inert aluminum coupons. Nor do such optical phenomena have anything at all to do with fuel chemistry or the mechanism of fuel deterioration. Only a Standard Heater Tube allows you to avoid the confusion associated with optical effects. Where other heater tubes obscure the viewing of available deposits, Standard Heater Tubes provide a clean and honest image of real deposits. The appearance of a heater tube under light is no mystery, and there is nothing to be feared from a clean and inert tube surface. TOP OF PAGE ASTM Politics As an American manufacturer, we support ASTM, and we believe the limit to our support is understandable: We make the finest ASTM-grade heater tubes. After many years of production and use, that fact presents a certain challenge to ASTM credibility. If the product works, and if it meets ASTM specs, then what is the problem? And the answer is, there is a credibility problem and a political bias problem, and no technical problem. We see the bias. Our tubes are the finest. We offer statistical equivalence, a patented technology with easy-to-read tubes, and a very attractive price. The simple answer we give when asked repeatedly about ASTM testing or listing is that our tubes are equivalent because they are inert and they are equivalent in meeting all Method specifications. And, listing is not an issue exactly because users do know where to find us. Everyone hopes that the factors sustaining the current negative ASTM environment and politically-motivated bias can be quickly and rightly redirected. TOP OF PAGE Mr. Heater Tube Sez: As today I am king of the world, I proclaim for everyone a Heater Tube Bill of Rights: Mr. Heater Tube claims that users have a right to see serialized tube numbers without any need for squinting or special glasses. King Tube would grant users the right to use either plain or numbered tubes, and proclaims that only Standard Heater Tube and D3241 provide for both types. People have a right to the best price when purchasing tubes.  King Heater Tube Sez that people, especially including ASTM people, are free to follow the ASTM written policy and not endorse or certify equipment or manufacturers. Mr. Heater Tube would grant all users the freedom to accept that aluminum tubing --- derived from a single mill --- really is chemically inert, and is inert regardless of manufacturer, and that fuel thermal decomposition chemistry or the mechanism of deposit formation are independent of the inert surface. It really can’t be any other way. Mr. Heater Tube sez people are immediately free to give some or all business to their favorite Standard Heater Tube supplier,  King Tube grants to tube users the freedom to think on their own, to avoid the herd instinct, to insist on rational scientific thought from their peers, and to lead the politicians among us (instead of blindly following them). Further freely granted is the right to dream, to be optimistic, hopeful, and positive about the opportunities (and heater tubes) surrounding them. People are absolutely free to select a heater tube of their choice. This includes tubes which reveal or conceal adjacent coloration and are made to spec, Mr. Heater Tube, sez. People are free to test new ideas and new products from proven new suppliers, and to positively discard old ideas which no longer work.  Mr. Heater Tube would grant to everyone the judgment to see that the ferocity of competing arguments is being derived from a fine product being offered at an even better price. People have the right to an inexpensive, easy-to-read, clean, chemically-inert heater tube from a supplier of choice, sez Mr. Heater Tube. On October 20, 2005 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provided to Standard Heater Tube, Inc. a Notice of Allowance for Ser. No. 10/986.706; Method For Roller Burnishing a Heater Tube. TOP OF PAGE Pricing One fact about our tubes is indisputable: The price is sensible! If you’ve been paying $432 or more for a case/pack/box of ten heater tubes, you’ll be pleased at our price of only $275 per case. Buy twenty cases and get them for $250. That’s a truly wonderful discount from others’ pricing which we happily give our customers. Mention this web page and receive $25 per case off the regular price on your first order (maximum 5 cases). We also carry pre-filter kits and "P-8" filter paper at affordable prices as convenience items for our Customers.
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Apppearance and Optical Considerations ASTM Politics Mr. Heater Tube Sez: Pricing Contact Introduction About Us The Relevance of JFTOT Testing About Tube Equivalence
Here you’ll find basic scientific information. There is an advantage to a tube having a good surface finish. A good finish makes for an easier task seeing and rating what is otherwise a difficult-to-see fuel deposit.  Why Choose a Standard Heater Tube? Only a Standard brand heater tube offers the benefit of our patented tube rolling process. It is this process which makes our tube the standard throughout the industry.   Other tubes are produced using harsh abrasive finishing processes. These begin with a coarse or raw tube containing lathe marks or tooling marks. Abrasions are undesirable because they obscure from view the subtle deposits sometimes produced during the Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Test, ASTM D3241.   Competing manufacturers try to compensate for the presence of undesirable machine marks by abrading or “polishing” raw tubes. However, these harsh abrasive processes only add to the problem. By incorporating many thousands of supplemental abrasions and abrasive scratches onto the surface, these processes enhance the diffraction, diffusion, or scattering of light away from the eye of the deposit rater. The overall result is troublesome; a badly scratched or harshly abraded tube obscures deposit colors and makes deposits more difficult or even impossible to see. It should be clear to everyone that you cannot correctly rate a deposit which you cannot see.   Standard Heater Tube, Inc. employs a non-abrasive finishing process for producing tubes. Our patented rolling process altogether eliminates abrasions, micro-abrasions, gouges, scratches, as well as troubling tool markings left on the tube surface by our competitors. The result is a deposit image which we make easier to see, and thus easier to rate. A rolled tube doesn’t - and it can’t - change the deposit color, amount of fuel-related deposits, or the chemistry or deposition mechanism of fuels. What it does do is to make the visualization and rating of fuel deposits easier.   Why is a rolled tube surface important?   Rating deposits which accumulate on a heater tube is a subjective but critical step in producing a fuel that can pass aviation fuel specifications. Currently, the rating is done visually at a relatively low 3X magnification under extreme lighting conditions. Often the deposits to be rated are the result of a fuel stain which is itself similar to a faint breath mark on a fine mirror. And, you can’t confidently rate a deposit like this when it is barely visible to begin with. That’s why a superior surface is important; it helps you see deposits better. A rolled surface, being a superior finish, let’s an observer see what’s really on the tube instead of using imagination or attempting to rate a coarse reflection of a deposit or image.   A Standard Heater Tube is a product you can use with confidence.   TOP OF PAGE About Us Although we are a small family business and a niche business, we happily lead the industry in heater tube technology and price. The Company is an S-Corporation, and the Heater Tube and Filter Kit is our primary product. We take pride that our product Heater Tube and Filter Kit is American made. We also offer two auxiliary American made items; a Pre-filter kit made, assembled, and sold by the Company for the ASTM D3241 test, and packages of fuel filter paper obtained through another American supplier. The Company is registered through our government’s Central Contractor Registry. For more than a decade we have produced the finest Heater Tube and Filter Kit available anywhere. Another supplier is part of a multi-national conglomerate operating as a monopoly tube supplier for approximately 40 years prior to competition from our Company. Under the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, 41 U.S.C. 253 (a)(1)(A) et seq., government Contracting Officers must act affirmatively to obtain and safeguard competition; they cannot take a passive approach and remain in a noncompetitive position where they could reasonably take steps to enhance competition. Our company is not afraid of competition. In fact, we are the competition some larger companies fear. Our business niche is providing tube users with a superior product and service at an aggressively competitive price.   TOP OF PAGE The Relevance of JFTOT Testing Basic chemistry teaches that aluminum cannot facilitate hydrocarbon oxidation. The suggestion that a heater tube supplier is criticially important to a Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Test (JFTOT) result is really a suggestion that the JFTOT test itself may be unreliable or even irrelevant. That's because the Chemistry of a Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Test (JFTOT) is well known. Deposit formation, being a thermally initiated and propagated reaction mechanism, depends upon heat applied. Deposits also depend upon having a suitable oxygen concentration. It is established that in the absence of oxygen, deposit formation is nil. The result is that JFTOT fuel deterioration chemistry is dictated by heat and oxygen. A Standard Heater Tube provides an inert solid aluminum surface upon which thermally- induced oxidation reactions can take place; consistent with the chemical design principles for this aviation fuel test. Standard Heater Tubes are perfect for deposit visualization and rating. That's why we say our rolling process has made competing production processes obsolete.   The Standard Heater Tube is protected through registration of U.S. Patent #7093481 issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. No other company produces or can offer such a patented Heater Tube and Filter Kit. Other tube features, including material composition, tube size, shape, and other mechanical properties are established by specification through ASTM D3241. Qinetiq, the research arm of the British Ministry of Defense, has already validated that mechanical and physical properties of Standard Heater Tubes comply with critical tube properties listed in D3241, including tube surface roughness. TOP OF PAGE About Tube Equivalence The equivalence of one heater tube to another is established by the fact that heater tubes are chemically inert. One tube cannot be more inert than another, or more "adequately" inert, and all aluminum tubes are, by definition, equally inert.  When you think about it, a heater tube is inert or it is not. A tube can't be inert and then have a little bit of residual reactivity or some small catalytic effect. Heater tubes are inert, period. That's the fact which proves tube equivalence. Additional proof, as an abundance of caution, comes from tube specifications. Either heater tubes meet the ASTM specifications, or they don't. Tubes from two sources which each equally meet specifications are equivalent. Thus, both heater tube inertness and comprehensive heater tube specifications absolutely prove tube equivalence. At one point, there was considerable clamor for a statistical proof of equivalence. The problem with that approach is that the test which employs heater tubes, D3241, doesn't come with a statistical precision statement. In short, you can't directly use a test with no precision statement to develop a statistically precise proof of equivalence. Believe me; we've tried. An abundance of test results exist. ASTM policy provides for new product listing information in methods once new equipment has been "made available and shown to be equivalent." Equivalence is factually established through equal tube inertness and by equally meeting all material and chemical specifications too, and the product has been commercially available for 15 years. ASTM might, anytime, follow its own listing policy. There's also the written Method caveat in ASTM Facts for Members that as a voluntary concensus organization, ASTM doesn't endorse,certify, or authenticate equipment or
suppliers. Such neutrality benefits everyone equally, of course. Existing ASTM policy also encourages "development of test methods based on generic equipment." Fifteen years is probably long enough after tube introduction for ASTM to follow that policy too, but that also hasn't happened with heater tubes. Finally, there is an anti-trust policy ASTM could embrace as well, if they wanted or chose to. The violation of these multiple and formal ASTM policies certainly appears blatant. In the face of them, lack of perfect statistical satisfaction no longer matters. The entire world now realizes the equivalence of inert specification tubes.  To view a comprehensive Equivalency Study, please click here Here are a few additional key limitations of the existing ASTM thermal oxidation test: 1. The test result generated is a fuel deposit color. (This is what makes the test fundamentally subjective). 2. There is no “Reference fuel;” a material for evaluating heater tubes or other Method materials, equipment, or supplies, and 3. ASTM D3241 doesn’t specify a method for applying the final heater tube surface finish (as it might if tube-finishing methodology was somehow critical to the test result). 4. The array of test color results are non-continuous and limited; not easily interpreted by or applicable to standard statistical methods. Standard Heater Tubes are used in refinery and independent labs throughout the world; testing billions of gallons of jet fuel powering thousands of planes flying millions of miles around our planet. If your technicians are having trouble or encounter difficulty making the subjective fuel ratings, try providing them with a tube which readily reveals the full, rich, colors of fuel-related deposits that form on the tube surface. After all, the determination of these deposit colors is the critical aspect of a fuel determination or rating. In completing this critical task, you don’t want an ordinary or obsolete tube. TOP OF PAGE Appearance and Optical Considerations