Dana Corporation announced today that it has been awarded the first patent for its AtmoPlas microwave atmospheric plasma heating technology. The patent is for plasma-assisted joining of metal components. A total of 20 patent applications for AtmoPlas uses are pending in the United States.
“This initial patent is the first step in bringing the AtmoPlas technology and its multitude of uses to the heat-treating industry,” said Chuck Heine, president of Technology Development at Dana. “Dana’s AtmoPlas technology has the potential to revolutionise heat treating by significantly reducing costs and improving both efficiency and material properties.”
The key to the AtmoPlas technology is its ability to generate plasma at atmospheric pressure without costly vacuum equipment. The plasma harnesses microwave energy to quickly generate temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Celsius within seconds to join metal components.
Major benefits include shorter cycle times, lower capital and maintenance costs, and energy savings. Microwave-absorbing plasma utilises 95 percent of the energy in microwaves to join metal parts through brazing, welding, bonding, and soldering. By absorbing and focusing the microwaves, the plasma reduces the possibility of arching while evenly distributing the heat, reducing the potential of thermal shock to metal components.
Dana is currently testing samples for brazing with its customers. In addition, future applications for AtmoPlas technology may include using microwave energy to treat vehicle-exhaust gasses, generate hydrogen, and create carbon nanostructures for use in the electronics and medical fields.