Introduction sintering furnace heating elements
The two common heating methods used by sintering furnaces are ceramic elements and microwaves.
Molybdenum disilicide (MoSi2) is the most common material used for heating elements. Some furnaces with these elements are capable of achieving temperatures as high as 1,800°C. While they are more expensive than other materials, MoSi2 elements are generally very stable, maintaining a constant electrical resistance over time.
Silicon carbide (SiC) elements are gaining popularity. They are self-supporting and lend themselves to span distances that MoSi2 typically cannot cover. SiC elements are limited to temperatures around 1,600°C. They are less expensive than MoSi2 elements but their electrical resistance tends to increase over time, which will prompt more frequent replacement. Microwave sintering is one of the newest sintering options. Monoclinic zirconia does not respond to microwave energy directly. Microwave sintering ovens require a susceptor plate and often susceptor material in the sintering trays that absorb microwave energy converting it to heat. This technique is used in residential microwave ovens to help cook or crisp certain frozen food products. Microwave ovens can be used for high-speed sintering and can be scaled for larger volume capacity.
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