Electron Beam processing is an alternative to conventional methods such as chemical and thermal processing in many industrial applications. Utilizing Electron Beam processing can result in benefits in terms of improved product characteristics, reduced costs and a cleaner environment.
Industrial Applications Include:
- Cross-Linking of plastics
- Chain Scission
- Treatment of Semiconductors
- Forestry Products
Electrons can be used to initiate the polymerization reaction (in some epoxy resins) at a low temperature, thereby reducing the residual stresses in the finished composite. Advantages of Electron Beam over a thermal cure include: rapid cure cycle (minutes vs. hours); curing at ambient temperatures; low cost tooling; manufacture of unique products which cannot be made in any other way; possibility of curing repaired parts on-site.
Joint replacements such as knees and hips are being manufactured from Cross-Linked Polyethylene because of the excellent wear characteristics. Electron Beam processing of thermoplastic material results in an array of enhancements, such as an increase in tensile strength, and resistance to abrasions, stress cracking and solvents.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene piping called PEX is commonly used as an alternative to copper piping for water lines in newer home construction. PEX piping will outlast copper and has performance characteristics that are superior to copper in many ways.
Electron Beam processing is used in the production of high power silicon devices such as high speed thyristors, diode rectifiers, fast recovery diodes, transistors, and silicon controlled rectifiers. Diffusing gold into silicon also produces these devices. High-energy electrons are used to achieve the same effect as the gold doping process, while providing excellent process control, and the flexibility to rework product.
Electron Beam processing can be used in forest products to reduce electrical consumption in mechanical pulp production by 20 – 40%, disinfest lumber for export, uniformly cold-cure the adhesive in plywood manufacture, and disinfest wood chips prior to storage or export transport.
Electron Beam processing can be used in the process of producing viscose. Cellulose pulp is transformed into a syrupy liquid called viscose to produce filaments and fibers for textiles (such as rayon), diapers, cellophane etc. The use of electron beams in the viscose process has the potential to generate savings through lower chemical costs and significantly reduces emissions of polluting chemicals, a key factor as viscose producers face increasingly strict environmental regulations.
The Electron Beam process has environmental advantages compared with traditional methods in these applications. These advantages, combined with significant cost and process benefits, are expected to contribute to the increasing industrial use of this technology.
Electron Beam processing can be used to enhance the colour of gemstones, thus increasing their value. By processing certain gemstones with electrons, their colour can be changed, which results in a gemstone that is indistinguishable from one mined with that colour. While topaz is the primary product for irradiation, diamonds, amblygonite, amethysts, quartz and aquamarine (beryl) are also occasionally treated with Electron Beams.
Iotron has over 14 years of experience in the gemstone irradiation business. During this time it has developed a number of systems and procedures that are unrivalled in the industry.
Electron Beam technology is an environmentally friendly process compared to alternative treatment methods, which may require the use of radioactive or hazardous materials. Iotron’s IMPELA® Electron Beam Accelerator, developed in Canada, is one of the largest and most powerful units in the world. Electron Beam Accelerators need only electricity to operate and produce no waste materials.
For more information about how Electron Beam processing can benefit your products, please contact us. Our team of experts is ready to work with you.