Inert Atmosphere Ovens

When heating materials such as steel, aluminum, and certain plastics, oxygen in the air can react with the material and cause unwanted oxidation on the surface. This is due to the fact that oxidation occurs more rapidly at elevated temperatures. Steel, for example, will oxidize very quickly at temperatures above 450°F (232°C), resulting in dark, rust-like discoloration and surface roughness. Aluminum is very reactive with oxygen and forms a thin film of surface oxidation at room temperature. This film will become thicker at elevated temperature and is undesirable for certain end uses of the aluminum. Similarly, PTFE (Teflon), UHMW plastic, copper, and certain other materials are negatively affected by oxygen when heated. To mitigate this effect, specially designed ovens, such as Wisconsin Oven’s Nitrogen Atmosphere batch ovens, are used to process these materials. The oven is flooded with nitrogen gas, which is non-reactive, to displace the oxygen and reduce oxidation on the surface of the material. These ovens utilize a continuously welded shell design to minimize infiltration of oxygen, special seals where accessories penetrate the oven shell, a sealed door design, and airtight cooling system that uses water passing through a heat exchanger to cool the oven after the heating cycle is complete.

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