(109e) Microwave Processing of Metals

Authors: 
Ripley, E. - Presenter, B&W Technologies, Y-12 National Security Complex


This paper will discuss new techniques for melting, casting and heat-treating metals using microwave energy. To date steels, platinum, titanium, zirconium, copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, and others have been melted. Melts exceeding 750 pounds and temperatures in excess of 2675°C have been accomplished. With a relatively simple setup, it is possible to melt and cast either reactive or non-reactive metals in a controlled environment of any desired gas, or a high vacuum. The equipment has a relatively small footprint and is easily converted to a variety of casting setups, material types and atmospheres. This basic method can be used in a variety of metal processing applications: melt, cast, heat-treat, sinter, infiltrate, and initiate and carry out chemical reactions. The same furnace has also been used to sinter ceramics, including alumina, titanium diboride, and boron carbide, as well as carry out microwave-enhanced diffusion such as chromizing of metals.

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