Microwave Sintering Facility

Unlike ceramics, sintering of metal powder compacts necessitates the need of controlled atmosphere cavity. For conducting such an experiment, a 1.1 kW microwave furnace with a 2.45 GHz multi-mode cavity was indigenously designed and established at Powder Metallurgy Laboratory, IIT Kanpur, in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. (BHEL), Hyderabad, India. The detailed description of the furnace [model:Sinterwave] construction has already been patented [Tubular Microwave Sintering Furnace with Inert and Reducing Gas Flushing for Sintering Metallic Samples, A. Upadhyaya (IIT/K) and G.Swaminathan (BHEL) Patent No. 1147/DEL/2006, Publication Date: 23.11.2007]. Figures 1and 2 illustrate the different parts of the microwave furnace facility and the schematic of the entire setup, respectively.

Unique features:

The size of the metallic cavity was 40 × 62 cm. A high density (99.9%), doubly recrystallized alumina tube of 7.1 cm diameter and 67 cm in length was positioned at the center of the furnace. All the sintering experiments for metallic powder compacts are usually conducted in hydrogen. The full-density alumina tube prevents any gas leakage. Furthermore, pore-free alumina is transparent to microwaves and does not heat up. Thus, the temperature rise during sintering is solely due to microwave-metal interaction. An insulation package made of Fibrefrax TM boards was used to surround the tube at the center of the cavity to minimize heat loss. The design was so made that it could be used both with and without the use ofsuscept or secondary coupler. The sintering studies can be conducted using SiC plates. The temperature measurement is carried out using an infrared pyrometer (model: M680, supplier:Mikron Inc., USA). The infrared pyrometer output was coupled witha PC based data acquisition and display software.


Powder Metallurgy Laboratory, Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering,
IIT Kanpur


Prof. Anish Upadhyaya

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