Is a drier furnace atmosphere always a better furnace atmosphere?
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Since the reducing potential of a hydrogenbased furnace atmosphere is defined by the ratio of pH2/pH2O, the first answer that comes to most people’s minds is “yes.” And, in some cases, they are correct. Lower dew point readings (lower pH2O) lead to more reducing conditions and, in many cases, better furnace atmosphere performance. However, there are situations where that is not always the case. One example of that is hydrogenbased belt furnace atmospheres where the dew point can reach values drier than –50°F or even –60°F under certain conditions. The reducing potential of this atmosphere is more than enough for the typical parts processed, but it can lead to unnecessarily strong reducing conditions that actually decrease belt life. Another example might be a brazing atmosphere that is too reducing and prone to excessive braze flow. Air Products’ new Atmosphere Humidification System allows for precise and consistent moisture additions to furnace atmospheres for just the right amount of moisture to improve belt life performance and/or braze flow while still maintaining adequate reducing conditions for the sintering or brazing operations being performed.
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