Figure-2 wsKnowledge of vapor pressure and rates of evaporation of various materials is valuable information for those operating vacuum furnaces, whether we are heat treating or brazing at high temperature and low vacuum levels or dealing with outgassing at very low temperatures and pressures.

When we think about a solid or liquid in a sealed vessel, we find that, even at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, there are molecules that leave the surface and go into the gaseous phase. The gas phase thus formed is called a vapor. The process of forming a vapor is known as evaporation and the rate of evaporation is determined by the temperature of the substance involved. In time, some of the evaporated molecules will, in all likelihood in the course of random movement, strike and stick to the surface of the vessel. This process is known as condensation and the rate of condensation is determined by the concentration of gas molecules (that is, the pressure of the evacuated gas). Eventually, the number of molecules leaving the surface of the substance is equal to the number returning to it (that is, the evaporation rate equals the condensation rate) and we have dynamic equilibrium. The (partial) pressure at which this occurs is known as the vapor pressure of the substance.2 Below this pressure, surface evaporation occurs faster than condensation, while above it, surface evaporation is slower. By Dan Herring

Figure-2 wsLow temperature heat treatments that involve a vacuum purge at the onset of the cycle have become increasingly popular throughout the industry. These operations are conducted in vacuum furnaces and furnaces that employ a vacuum purge prior to the beginning of the heat process with parts placed inside a special vacuum tight vessel or in a retort. Processing being run using these methods take advantage of a highly controlled environment designed to minimize surface interactions.

Low temperature vacuum heat treatment is used by both captive and commercial heat treaters and spans such diverse markets as Aerospace, Automotive, Electronics, Optics, Housewares, Industrial Products, Tool & Die, Military/Defense and Farm Implement to name a few. Most processes run in the temperatures range of 175°C – 730°C (350°F – 1350°F). Special applications extend these ranges down to as low as 120°C (250°F) and up to as high as 925°C (1700°F), but this is unusual. Temperature uniformity in dedicated furnaces is considered excellent throughout the standard temperature ranges listed. By Dan Herring

vacuum wsThe movement of gases is an important and interesting subject but one often dismissed as a topic best left to scientists. However, the Heat Treater needs to know something about the basic nature (theory) of gases and in particular how they behave in vacuum. The main difficulty is that too much theory tends to become a distraction. Our focus here will be to better understand what goes on inside a vacuum furnace.

One definition of a gas is that it is simply a collection of molecules in constant motion (Fig. 2). The higher the temperature, the faster these molecules move, and as one might expect, the motion of gas molecules stops or dramatically slows down at or near absolute zero (0°K). As molecules speed up with an increase in temperature, there is an increase in their kinetic energy (or energy of motion). Molecular collisions occur between molecules and if contained, these molecular collisions against the walls of their container result in a pressure rise (which always occurs in a closed container when a gas is heated). In other words, pressure is simply the force per unit area that a gas exerts on the walls of its container. By Dan Herring

Fig-3 wsHighly distortion prone gearing (Fig. 1) was the subject of an investigation into the dimensional changes which result from utilizing either oil or high pressure gas quenching following a low pressure vacuum carburizing process. For comparative purposes, the gears in question were also atmosphere gas carburized and plug quenched, which is standard practice for these geometries. Full production loads (Fig. 2) were run using two (2) different carburizing methods (atmosphere, vacuum) in combination with free quenching in either oil at 75°C (165°F) or high pressure gas (nitrogen) at 11 bar.

Gears were taken from multiple locations throughout each load for analysis. Parts for metallurgical evaluation were selected from the center of each load. Multiple areas on each part were then analyzed for microstructure, case depth, and hardness (surface, profile, core). Dimensional checks (out of round, gear tooth profiles) were conducted on the gears before and after heat treatment. For brevity, only a portion of the complete test program is presented here (see Reference 4 for more detail). By Dan Herring

book-library wsOver the years, many people have asked if we could recommend good books on the subject of Vacuum Heat Treatment. The following list includes books that we have found particularly useful  with respect to the scientific and practical aspects of vacuum, heat treatment, metallurgy and material science. Enjoy..

As you can tell from the list, some books are classics which have stood the test of time, some are relative newcomers, but all share the common trait that they are used each and every day by those of us who work in the fields of vacuum, heat treatment and metallurgy. The readers are encouraged to offer suggestions as to their favorite and most useful texts. By Dan Herring

 

rga-in-situ wsA residual gas analyzer or RGA for short is a compact mass spectrometer, designed for use either in the laboratory or out on the shop floor. These devices are often mounted for in-situ use on a vacuum furnace. RGA’s are typically designed for process control and contamination monitoring in vacuum systems.

Applications for residual gas analyzers include distinguishing leaks from outgassing, fingerprinting the process background, detecting helium and determining the effectiveness of gas line purging. A typical RGA gas analysis can reveal how much of a particular species is present either in the vacuum vessel or in the pump manifold. RGAs are used in most cases to monitor the quality of the vacuum and easily detect minute traces of impurities in the low-pressure gas environment. These impurities can be measured down to 10-14 Torr levels, possessing sub-ppm detectability in the absence of background interferences. By Dan Herring

 

verti-loading-config wsComponent parts come in all shapes and sizes. To meet this demand vacuum furnaces have been designed to accommodate many standard workload configurations. Despite the almost limitless choices, some common sense rules apply.
 
It is important to recognize that loading arrangements generally fall into two classes: weight limited and volume limited. In either case, when loading parts in furnace baskets or onto racks the goal is often to maximize loading efficiency. One must also be concerned with proper part spacing, that is, how parts are situated within the load for optimal heat transfer (e.g. line of sight heating), support and stability of the load at temperature, temperature uniformity, and heat extraction during quenching so as to achieve the desired metallurgical properties and minimize distortion. By Dan Herring
 

brands
Site design by:
MainlySunny.com
Site powered by: Joomla