Advanced material solutions for fixtures, grids and internal furnace components are available today. They are designed to allow for higher processing temperatures, larger loads, increased production rates, energy savings, and lower overall cycle costs.
Solar’s Souderton plant recently received a Nadcap accreditation in carburizing, allowing it to better serve the aerospace market. This accreditation joins Solar’s other Nadcap approvals for heat treating, brazing and fluorescent penetrant inspection. Additionally, earlier this year the company became an approved supplier for General Electric Aviation (GEA), UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) and Moog Corporation.
A vacuum-purge gas nitriding furnace was modified to develop a process and a furnace enhancement to produce a controlled in situ oxide layer on the surfaces of steel parts using various oxidation techniques. The process is an effective alternative to conventional grit blasting of materials as a means of surface preparation for uniform and consistent nitriding results. Pre-oxidation is known to enhance receptivity of steel part surfaces to the effects of nitriding, and in situ oxidation is inherently efficient and economical. Topics discussed include the type of oxidizing carrier used in the furnace, practical methods used to control the oxidation, and a gas delivery system developed to inject gases with an elevated dew point for the purpose of providing a controlled oxidizing atmosphere. Comparative tests with other activation techniques, and results with no activation, will be discussed along with approaches to technical process difficulties encountered.
A specific concern to a vacuum furnace user is processing critical work during summer months with high temperatures and high humidity. This same concern could also be a problem on rainy winter months. Under these difficult conditions, it is most important to understand the impact that humid conditions can have on the final surface condition and appearance of the processed parts. Work discolored or oxidized by residual water vapor is unacceptable and must be controlled for many critical components like aerospace parts or medical implants and instruments. This paper will try to explain factors relating to humidity, air temperature, and methods to improve final product appearance and minimize possibility of contamination.
Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control is the most common control type algorithm used and accepted in the furnace industry. These popular controllers are used because of their robust performance in a wide range of operating conditions and because of their simplicity of function once understood by the processing operator. The purpose of this paper is to further define and thoroughly explain the basics of the PID controller. It should be noted that many current instruments incorporate what is called an “Autotune” feature which can automatically set the PID variables for a given temperature setting allowing the operator to bypass much of the initial manual requirements. However, Autotuning was not introduced until the late 1980’s and there still exists many instruments in use which do not have this tuning feature and must still be manually set-up. Also, Autotuning often requires additional tuning or tweaking to reach final acceptable results. By understanding fully the basics of the PID functions as described below, it is hoped that any final adjustments or tuning will be simplified. Further discussion of the Autotune feature follows below. As the name suggests, the PID algorithm consists of three basic components: proportional, integral and derivative which are varied to get optimal response. If we were to observe the temperature of the furnace during a heating cycle it would be rare to find the temperature reading to be exactly at set point temperature. The temperature would vary above and below the set point most of the time. What we are concerned about is the rate and amount of variation. This is where PID is applied.
Since the early development of the vacuum furnace, engineers and thermal experts have continually tried to improve the insulating characteristics of the furnace hot zone. Several materials have been used for different applications with varying success. However, all designs must still deal with the heat losses penetrating through the insulation materials and the need to minimize these losses. This is especially important today with the continual escalation of electrical power cost. This paper will review the different types of hot zone insulation materials used, the projected losses of the different designs, the impact relating to furnace cycle heating rates and cycle times, and the projected cost advantages of one design over another.
A Temperature Uniformity Survey ( TUS ) for a vacuum furnace to satisfy AMS 2750D must be performed using established procedures and methods that fully meet the requirements of the specification and allows for consistent and more accurate results of actual furnace capabilities. Solar Atmospheres and Solar Manufacturing, with their extensive vacuum furnace experience and processing knowledge, have combined to create a standard procedure for TUS for all newly manufactured and current in-production vacuum furnaces. This procedure considers the many critical aspects of AMS 2750D that must be fully satisfied to produce acceptable processing results and the following outline could be applied to any vacuum furnace user to satisfy their TUS requirements.
This work is an update of the original reference compilation by Charles F. Burns, Jr., Copyright 1997. The current booklet contains revisions to the original work as well as numerous additions. This booklet should serve as a handy reference for people that work in the metals industry.
Electrochemical capacitors, also called supercapacitors, store energy in two closely spaced layers with opposing charges, and are used to power hybrid electric vehicles, portable electronic equipment and other devices. By offering fast charging and discharging rates, and the ability to sustain millions of cycles2–5, electrochemical capacitors bridge the gap between batteries, which offer high energy densities but are slow, and conventional electrolytic capacitors, which are fast but have low energy densities. Here, we demonstrate microsupercapacitors with powers per volume that are comparable to electrolytic capacitors, capacitances that are four orders of magnitude higher, and energies per volume that are an order of magnitude higher. We also measured discharge rates of up to 200 V s21, which is three orders of magnitude higher than conventional supercapacitors. The microsupercapacitors are produced by the electrophoretic deposition of a several-micrometre-thick layer of nanostructured carbon onions6,7 with diameters of 6–7 nm. Integration of these nanoparticles in a microdevice with a high surface-to-volume ratio, without the use of organic binders and polymer separators, improves performance because of the ease with which ions can access the active material. Increasing the energy density and discharge rates of supercapacitors will enable them to compete with batteries and conventional electrolytic capacitors in a number of applications.