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                          1.0  BACKGROUND STUDY

In  the  world  of  materials,  Heat  treatment  is  an  aspect  that  cannot  be  over  emphasized  as  it

imparts desirable properties to materials, thus increasing their ability to perform the intended

function  more  effectively.  Invariably  as  all  industries  use  various  materials  therefore

activities of these industries depend directly or indirectly on heat treatment. 

Heat treatment may be defined as the controlled heating and cooling of material in order to

deliberately  improve  their  properties  (e.g.  mechanical,  thermal,  corrosion,  microstructure,

hardness, ultimate tensile stress, fatigue strength, Impact strength). 

Heat treatment has been found to be a resourceful technique for improving thermal properties

(heat  capacity,  coefficient  of  expansion,  thermal  conductivity),  corrosion  properties  and

micro structural properties of engineering materials. Heat treatment is often associated with

increasing  the  strength  of  material,  but  it  can  also  be  used  to  refine  the  grain  size,  relieve

internal stress, to improve machinability and formability as well as for restoring the ductility

after a cold working. The tool for heat treating materials is known as heat treatment furnace 

According  to  Rajan  et.  al.  (1988),  a  heat  treatment  furnace  is  a  heating  chamber  that  is  a

refractory  or  lagged  enclosure  which  contains  the  charge  and  retains  heat  that  should  be

measurable as well as controllable. However, it is observed that in a heat treatment furnace,

the heat is not measured but the temperature. 

Hence, a heat treatment furnace is a heating chamber that is a refractory or lagged enclosure

which contains the charge and retains heat at a temperature that should be measurable as well

as  controllable.  Heat  treatment  furnaces  with  effective  temperature  sensing,  heat  retaining

capacity  and  controlled  environment  are  necessary  for  heat-treatment  operations  to  be

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successfully  performed.  (Alaneme  and  Olanrewaju,  2010)  Furnace ideally  should  heat  as

much of material as possible to a uniform temperature with the least possible fuel and labour.

The  furnace  also  requires  a  control  system  to  regulate  the  temperature  in  the  furnace

accurately. In heat treatment furnace, as in melting furnace, heat is transferred via two modes;

convection and radiation.

A good heat treatment furnace should possess some qualities

  · It must be safe to the user 

  · Must minimize heat loss

The  primary  objective  in  the  heating  stage  is  to  maintain  uniform  temperatures  as  uneven

heating  can  lead  to  a  part  of  the  charge  material  expanding  faster  than  the  other,  causing

distortion or cracking. 



There are various types of heat treating furnace:

  · Fuel Fired Heat Treatment Furnace powered by the combustion of fuel to release

      energy in the presence of air 

  · Electrically  Powered  Heat  Treatment  Furnace powered  through  the  passage  of

      electric current through a heat element (highly resistance material) e.g.  Kanthal wire,

      Silicon Carbide, etc.

  · Solar Powered Heat Treatment  Furnace:  in  this furnace, the heat  source is  from

    the sun as it radiates solar energy which can be focused to the crucible by parabolic

      mirrors or Fresnel lens thus increasing the temperature.  

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  · Infra  Red  Heat  Treatment  Furnace;  a  form  of  either  electric  or  fuel  fired  heat

      treatment  in  which  electromagnetic  radiation  range  780nm  to  1400nm  is  dissipated

      from  an  emitter/  emitter  tube  which  may  be  made  of  carbon,  nichrome,  quartz

      tungsten, etc.

  · Induction  Heat  Treatment  Furnace; a  form  of  electric  heat  treatment  in  which  a

      copper  tubing  of  high  conductivity  is  wound  into  helical  coil  contained  within  steel

      shell support and connected to electrical source

1.2    Components of a furnace

1.2.1 Energy source:
this is the source of energy for the heating of the furnace, it forms the

basic classification of heat treatment furnace and is broadly classified into two; 

  · Fuel powered by the combustion of fuel to release energy in the presence of air 

  · Electrically  powered  through  the  passage  of  electric  current  through  a  heat  element

      (highly resistance material).

1.2.2 Refractory Chamber: this is an enclosure that is constructed of insulating material so

as  to  retain  heat  in  the  furnace.  The  insulating  material  facing  the  hot  face  should  be

chemically  inert  while  the  material  facing  the  surrounding  should  have  low  thermal

conductivity  in  the  case  of  composite  walls.  The  main  aim  is  to  minimize  heat  loss  to  the

furnace surrounding.

1.2.3  Instrumentation and Control System: heat treatment furnace operation retains heat

at certain temperature, thus the need to maintain such temperatures by means of control and

temperature measurement devices 

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1.2.4 Crucible: this contains the charge material and in some cases may be the same as the

refractory chamber and in other cases may be a separate entity contained within the refractory

chamber but possesses high thermal conductivity, high melting point and chemically inert.

1.2.5 Heat  Exchanger/Exhaust: found  basically  on  fuel  fired  furnaces,  exhaust  conveys

the  combustion  product  to  the  surrounding  while  heat  exchanger  uses  the  exhaust  gases  in

preheating charge or combustion air thereby improving the overall furnace efficiency

1.2.6 Charging  /  Discharging  door: this  is  an  access  to  the  crucible  in  other to  load  the

charge material or unload it.


                        1.3 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The  exorbitant  cost  of  heat  treatment  furnace  has  been  responsible  for  its  dearth  in  the

material science laboratory of our Universities.

The epileptic nature of power supply in country  has made it imperative to look inward and

develop an alternate power source for furnaces in use in the university.

 It is  therefore of outmost  importance to design  and fabricate an eco friendly low cost  heat

treatment furnace with dual power sources, to be used interchangeably to be put to functional

use. Thus, the need to exploit locally available materials. 

This would invariably reduce the total heavy dependence of foreign equipment and increase

the stock of locally made ones.



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The  general aim  of  this  project  is  to  design  and  fabricate  a  dual-powered  heat  treatment

furnace for the Material  Science  Laboratory  of the Department  of Mechanical  Engineering,

University of Ibadan.

The specific objectives are

To  carry  out  a  detailed  design  of  a  dual-powered  heat  treatment  furnace  and  produce  its

working drawing in AutoCAD/Solid works

To fabricate a Dual-Powered Heat Treatment Furnace 

To carry out Performance Analysis of the Fabricated Dual-Powered Heat Treatment Furnace.



It  is  expected  that  the  dual-powered  heat  treatment  furnace  will  be  fabricated  with  readily

available materials and put to good use in the Material Science Laboratory of the Department

of Mechanical Engineering

It  would  also  provide  an  option  in  terms  of  the  alternate  power  source  in  event  of  the

unavailability of one power source.



The desire to see heat treatment effectively carried out in a furnace that shall not be restricted

to a single power source but rather two, such that, in case of the unavailability of one, heat

treating activities shall not be stalled.

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Such  furnace  that  is  safe,  energy  efficient,  cost  effective  and  ultimately  eco-friendly  in  the

Material Science Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.



It  is  expected  that  at  the  end  of  completion  of  this  work,  a  Dual-Powered  Heat  Treatment

Furnace  would  have  been  fabricated  and  shall  be  of  indispensable  value  to  the  Material

Science Laboratory.



Extensive Literature review

Market Survey to determine availability of materials.

Detailed design and CAD modelling using SolidWorks® 

Consultation with Engineering Students, Technicians, Technologist

Material Acquisition 

Furnace Fabrication/Construction 

Furnace Testing/ Performance Analysis   

You either get what you want or your money back. T&C Apply

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