Materials Processing With Heat Pipes
Temperature, heating and/or cooling rates, and thermal uniformity play a critical role in determining the mechanical properties, overall quality, and through-put in material processing applications. Heat pipes offer superior performance when these criteria cannot be met with traditional cooling methods. By nature, material processing equipment is very customized, varying significantly from process to process in terms of form, function and temperature range. A few examples are described below to illustrate how heat pipes can reliably and cost effectively increase the performances of different material processing applications.
In processes that use heated or cooled rollers, heat pipes embedded in the rollers can improve the thermal uniformity so that materials passing through the rollers experience the same temperature, even near the ends of the rollers where end effects can distort the temperature profile. Heat pipe furnace liners can be used to isothermalize the inner volumes (work zones) of furnaces and ovens, where convection currents near the inlets/outlets and non-uniformly distributed heater elements can create significant temperature distributions. Heat pipe carriers can keep a part isothermal under high heating/cooling loads as the part traverses different oven and ambient environments. In mold cooling applications, heat pipes can improve thermal uniformity across complex shapes and increase cooling rates. Chemical reactors with highly localized chemical reactions can also benefit from the higher thermal uniformity of heat pipe assisted chemical reactors.
Common materials processing applications suitable for heat pipes include:
- Furnace Liners
- Mold Cooling
- Chemical Reactors
ACT has extensive experience building custom heat pipe solutions over a wide temperature range for material processing applications. Examples of ACT’s thermal management products and technologies generally considered most suitable for materials processing include:
- Heat Pipe Heat Sinks
- Intermediate Temperature Heat Pipes capable of over 250°C operation
- High Temperature Heat Pipes capable of 400°C to over 1000°C operation
ACT’s team of thermal experts has the in-depth experience and broad technology portfolio available to help solve your most challenging material processing thermal problem.