Automation of a vacuum furnace

Robert Lynn Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A vacuum furnace is a device used in the production of silicon carbide crystals which are used in certain military applications. In order to create these crystals, a source material must first be made by combining silicon and graphite and baking it at temperatures which reach 3000°C in a perfectly uncontaminated environment of argon gas. By heating the crystals in a vacuum, it is possible to reach the necessary temperatures with less lower power as compared to heating at atmospheric pressure. This paper presents the design and implementation of a vacuum furnace automation project that was done as an Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology capstone senior design project. The automation was designed for a vacuum furnace that previously had only manual controls. The upgrade included additional instrumentation and a LabVIEW HMI for process monitoring and control, data collection, and recipe entry. This project was supervised by the Electro-Optics Center of Penn State University's Applied Research Laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-978
Number of pages12
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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