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Fused Salt Chemistry of Industrial Application

Fused Salt Chemistry of Industrial Application

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Published by: ADEBISI JELEEL ADEKUNLE on Mar 18, 2011
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FUSED SALT CHEMISTRY OF INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION
INTRODUCTIONHEAT TREATERS can no longer use heat-treating methods that are only uniform, quick,efficient, and economical. They must also be environmentally responsible. Salt bath heat-treatingmethods are uniform, quick, efficient, economical, and environmentally responsible. Salt bathsare used in a wide variety of commercial heat-treating operations including neutral hardening,liquid carburizing, liquid nitriding, austempering, martempering, and tempering applications.Salt bath equipment is well adapted to heat treatment of ferrous and nonferrous alloys. Parts thatare heated in molten salt baths are heated by conduction; the molten salt bath provides a readysource of heat as required. Although materials being heated come in contact with heat throughtheir surfaces, the core of a part rises in temperature at approximately the same rate as its surface.Heat is quickly drawn to the core from the surface, and salt baths provide heat at an equal rateover the total part. Neither convection nor radiation heating methods is able to maintain the rateof heating required to reach equilibrium with the rate of heat absorption. The ability of a moltensalt bath to supply heat at a rapid rate accounts for the uniform, high quality of parts heat treatedin salt baths. Heat-treating times are also shortened; for example, a 25 mm (1 in.) diameter bar can be heated to temperature equilibrium in 4 min in a salt bath, whereas 20 to 30 min would berequired to obtain the same properties in either convection or radiation furnaces. Salt baths arevery efficient methods of heat treating; about 93 to 97% of the electric power consumed with acovered salt bath operation goes directly into heating of the parts. In atmosphere furnaces, 60%of the energy goes for heating, and the remaining 40% is released up the furnace stack as waste.Steels that are heat treated in molten salts typically are processed in ceramic-lined furnaces withsubmerged or immersed electrodes containing chloride-based salts.TYPES OF SALT BATH FURNACES1.
 
Embedded electrode salt-bath furnaceFor heating up the metal parts in melted in the salty fluid or the compound salt fluid, in order tocarriy on each kind of heat treatment, for example: Quenching, annealing, tempering,normalizing, nonoxidation heating and cementation and so on. This series electrode salt bathdivides into the low temperature, warm and the high temperature three kinds, its operatingtemperature respectively be 150-550, 550-1000, 1000- 1350.2.
 
Crucible salt bath furnaceMainly used for spare parts metal parts quenching, the cyaniding, crucible salt bath heattreatments and so on annealing and tempering use, especially is suitable for the fastener, thestandard letter heat treatment.3.
 
Laboratory salt-bath furnaceMainly used in the laboratory for each kind of heat treatments metal parts quenching,cyaniding, annealing and tempering treatments, especially suitable for the fastener, the standardletter heat treatment.
Furnace development
 
About 30 years ago, the first important salt bath furnace installation was made inPennsylvania. Since then they¶ve gained wide recognition and the number has grown-not only innumber but in size and capacity. The 5000 in use today range in size to 43 ft L x 20 ft D x 8 ftW. In use, the unit contains 300,000 lbs of salt. Many operate with connected loads over 2500km. The furnace has a ceramic or metal container filled with molten salt. The work can beimmersed for either heating or cooling. The bath¶s composition consists of one or more salts,nitrates, chlorides, carbonates, cyanides, caustics, or additives in small amounts. The additivescan be sulphates, fluorides, etc. Heat is transferred between work and molten salt by conduction.The salt lends itself to either heating or cooling within a 300
o
C to 2400
o
C
 
range, asrequired. Compatible salt mixtures are selected with proper operating ranges and often areformulated to meet specific temperature-range requirements.MODE OF OPERATIONToday's furnaces are heated by electricity, oil or gas. The electrically heated furnaces areequipped with either resistance or silicon carbide heating elements, mounted externally to either a square or round metal pot holding molten media. At elevated temperatures silicon carbideheating elements are preferred because the elements are made in one piece from high-density,high-purity, self-bonded silicon carbide.Molten salt is considered the "ideal" heat treating medium. It is common to process low,medium, and high-carbon steels in the same medium without surface carburization or decarburization. This is particularly advantageous for a variety of batch-type heat treating work.A thick salt film adhering to the surface serves as protection which continues when the work isremoved and transferred (in the case of hardening) to the quench operation. Heat transfer intocomponents is very rapid - 4 to 6 times faster than possible with radiation or convectionmethods. Additionally, the uniform rate of heat transfer permits components having complexgeometries and diverse cross-sections to be heat treated and quenched with minimal distortion.The fast heat-up and quench rates and unsurpassed temperature uniformity of this processcombined with our careful fixturing of your parts means consistent results, superior tool performance, shorter processing time, and faster turnaround time.In procuring Salt Bath Furnaces special attention should be given so operator safety standardsand local environmental requirements are met and that waste treatment technologies involvedmeet government regulations and provide for a comprehensive and cost-effective wastemanagement such as effective sludge removal systems.
Operating principle
The electrode furnace generates direct heat in salt by using its resistance to current passage.Salts, while insulators in the solid state, are excellent high-resistance conductors in the moltenstate. Potential is applied to the molten salt by use of heavy electrode bars. These are connectedto the secondary of special multiple voltage air cooled transformers. Electrodes are located in arecessed area of the bath and cause salt circulation by electromagnetic forces when energized. Astrong magnetic field is created between electrodes when located close together. Using
 
Maxwell¶s Law, this field will cause salt particles between electrodes to move downward in awhirlpool fashion. This electrodynamic circulation assures absolute temperature uniformitythrough the bath and eliminates danger of undesirable differentials.Furnace size and shape can be almost anything desired. One design uses a metal pot for temperatures up to 1750°. With this arrangement, electrodes must enter from the top and areusually located along the back wall free of the work area. All external walls are heavily insulatedand radiation losses from surfaces are minimized by a suitable cover.The metal pot in this type furnace is used whenever salts contain appreciable amounts of cyanides, carbonates, and caustic soda, or for low temperature applications using nitrates andnitrites. A different type furnace is preferred for higher temperature applications in the 1200
o
C to2400
o
C range. The pot is of interlocking ceramic tile. Electrodes are replaced without costlydowntime. The tile is merely raised, the old electrodes removed, the new or rebuilt electrodesinstalled, and the tile replaced. A third type furnace, radically different from those above, is primarily intended for cooling rather than heating. The isothermal quench furnace is for martempering, austempering and isothermal heat treating operations (of which there are manyhundreds). This type furnace will always have a metal port heated by either resistance heaters or gas fired immersion tubes. The external pot surface is frequently finned and air under pressure iscirculated around the outside to extract heat. Both heating and cooling cycles are automaticallycontrolled to maintain a constant and uniform ±10
o
C temperature.For quenching, salt must be properly agitated. This is done with a propeller driven pump whichforces the molten nitrate, nitrite salt through the quench header. Whenever high temperaturechloride salts are carried by the work into the nitrate-nitrite, a separating chamber continuouslyclarifies the bath. Chloride salts settle to the chamber bottom and are removed periodically. Thistype furnace normally operates within 400
o
C to 750
o
C. By eliminating pumps, separatingchamber and cooling chamber, the furnace can also be used for heating applications within therange of 400 to 1100o. It can be heated by either resistance heaters or gas-fired immersion tubes.type furnace will always have ametal port heated by either resistanceheaters or gas fired immersiontubes. The external pot surfaceis frequently finned and air under pressure is circulatedaround the outside to extract heat.Both heating and cooling cyclesare automatically controlled tomaintain a constant and uniform±10o temperature.

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