Are you a manufacturing or process engineer looking for information on induction heating? If so, you are not alone. The subject of induction heating is vast and ever changing. There is more to know every day. From annealing copper to brazing aluminum, the processes are complex but absolutely necessary to the manufacturing of metallic materials. Below are a few things to know about the process as well as two of the most common uses of induction heating:
1. Induction Heating Quick Facts - Induction heating has been used in the manufacturing industry since the 190s. The two main methods of heating used during induction are eddy current heating and hysteretic heating. Induction heaters are made of three parts: the power unit, the work head, and the work coil. Induction equipment is made to withstand the high temperatures of the process that range from 212 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 5432 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Annealing Copper - Put simple, annealing is the term for heating a metal material and then cooling it to change its properties. Some of these changes to properties make the metal more durable and hard. During the process of annealing copper the metal becomes softer and less brittle than its original state. This allows manufacturers to bend the metal without completely breaking it. The annealing process starts by heating up the part of the material you are looking to change until it turns to a dark red color then immediately putting it into a water bath.
3. Brazing Aluminum - Induction brazing is different than annealing copper because rather than heating and cooling a metal, it actually joins two or more materials together with a filler metal that has a lower melting point than the base materials used. Brazing aluminum correctly can allow any homeowner with a bit of handiwork skill to fix leaks, cracks, or holes without needing to use the more intense process of welding. The next time you are a in your local hardware store, take a minute to look for the brazing rods to see if you might want to give it a try!
As with any manufacturing process, you should not only be aware of how the process works but of how to perform it safely. Induction heating safety is at the top of the priority list for manufacturers who utilize the process. Annealing copper and brazing aluminum are just two of the ways that induction heating can be used to manipulate materials in order to change their composition. The next time you are facing a home improvement project that involves a broken metal part, consider trying annealing or brazing to fix it. You may just surprise yourself with the results!