Metals today are treated with a variety of methods. In fact, metal treatment can make steel resistant to rust, and aluminum strong and durable, while remaining light in weight. Heat treatment is a very important process in the industry today and is commonly used to provide better steel products for a variety of applications. Many types of heating methods require very high heat, and this is efficiently accomplished with a vacuum heat treat furnace. Here is more about this process and why it is beneficial to the modern day industry.
To improve the quality of steel, it must be heated. However, steel is more porous than it appears and during the process of heating, it can absorb material from the air. This can contaminate the good steel and decrease certain properties. So how does one avoid this kind of contamination? It involves using a vacuum.
What is a Vacuum?
The word “vacuum” is often referred to as a void, as outer space is sometimes called a vacuum. A vacuum is created when all air is pumped from a space.
A true vacuum would be devoid of all matter, and this cannot be accomplished on earth. Removing as much oxygen as possible can create near vacuum conditions, favorable for heat treatment. With almost all matter removed, there is very little chance for contamination. This is why food stays fresh longer when it is vacuum packed. In fact, some modern day computer circuits are so sensitive to contamination, they have to be assembled inside a vacuum.
How Does a Vacuum Heat Treat Furnace Work?
A vacuum furnace is used to treat steel so it will not absorb contaminants from the air. Vacuum furnaces have pumps that remove the oxygen from the heating chamber. This must be done under completely airtight conditions. Once oxygen is removed, it lowers the atmospheric pressure in the chamber.
The low atmospheric pressure allows precise temperature control. Also, since oxygen has been extracted, metals like steel cannot oxidize, and this makes for a more efficient heat treatment process. Besides, a vacuum makes it easier to attain a high amount of heat with more uniform heating.
Vacuum conditions are good for more than heating. They can facilitate the process of quenching metal to cool it down. Heat can be removed evenly, allowing for a more efficient cooling process.
The vacuum heat treat furnace is used for many types of steel applications, including carburizing to add carbon to steel. Metal brazing can also be achieved to eliminate the need for welding.
If you need a reliable source for vacuum heat treat furnace products, come to ECM USA. We provide a wide range of innovative options for your metal treatment needs.
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