Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cryogenic Material Recovery

A few weeks before Christmas, we completed a job for a Worcester-based company using our cryogenic material recovery service. Our customer manufactures and sells safety devices with a very special purpose. These particular parts are used to save someone from drowning after he or she falls through thin ice. The person simply needs to slam the device into solid ice surrounding the hole that he or she fell through. This will keep the person from flowing under the ice or even drowning.

Our customer had several thousand of these safety devices with defects. He had been saving them over the years trying to figure out what to do with them. The part has a plastic casing that is molded around a steel pick and spring. Many of these parts had defects from the molding process such as mold shorts. In addition, some of the steel picks were misaligned when they were molded. Our customer wanted to recycle as many steel picks and springs as possible from these safety devices. His plan was to use these parts in future molding runs. We were happy to help our customer using our cryogenic material recovery service.

We experimented with some sample parts to find the best method to remove the plastic surrounding the steel picks and springs. In the end, the best method involved heating the parts up and then submerging them in a liquid nitrogen bath. This large temperature deviation caused the plastic to crack and shear off of the steel pick. Since there was some variation among the safety devices, a few of the steel picks still had some residual plastic. Our customer told me that he had enough clean steel picks to finish the next molding run. He was quite enthused with the results.

Below are pictures of me lowering the safety devices into the liquid nitrogen bath after the parts had been heated. The second picture shows nitrogen turning from a liquid to a gas as it boils off inside the container holding the safety devices. The last photo shows the picks after our cryogenic material recovery service had been completed.

In the past we have completed many cryogenic material recovery jobs. Customers come to us to recover specific parts of a complete assembly. Typically, we will complete trials on some assemblies to find the best method to remove specific parts. The two most common processes involve utilizing our cryogenic processor for several hours or a liquid nitrogen bath. If you are trying to recover inexpensive or highly valuable parts from an assembly, let us take a look at your application. Please send an email to or call 508 459-7447.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Cryogenic Institute of New England, Inc.

The team at the Cryogenic Institute of New England, Inc. would like to wish our customers a happy holiday and happy New Year. It’s a great time of year to remind our customers, that without them we would not exist. Rather we grew this year in spite of the economic downturn. Thank you for a great year. Below is our holiday schedule to help you with scheduling.

Friday, December 25: OFF
Friday, January 1: OFF
The rest of the time we will be here.

Again, we would like to wish you, your friends and family happy holidays.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Thermal Cycling for Aerospace, Spacecraft and Satellite Components

The Cryogenic Institute of New England, Inc. offers a full range of thermal cycling processes created for a range of different applications. We are able to meet the most dramatic thermal cycling requirements because of our experience with liquid helium processing. Most of our work involves the use of liquid nitrogen. However when specifications require going below -320°F, helium is required.

We have created standard thermal cycling profiles and we can also thermal cycle using your provided specifications. As an ITAR registered company, we are also capable of fulfilling MIL/DOD specifications. Due to confidentiality agreements and Federal laws we are unable to disclose information relating to most of these thermal cycling projects.

Why should companies use thermal cycling on the aerospace and space components?

1. Thermal cycling relieves residual stresses in metals and other materials. As temperatures are lowered well below freezing, molecular activity continues to be reduced. It is at absolute zero (-459°F) that no further energy can be extracted from a material. At this point, residual stresses are relieved and they will not return once the cycle has arrived back at ambient temperature. Our thermal cycling processes typically utilize multiple heating and cooling cycles. Depending on the specifications of the thermal cycle, we will make holds at these hot and cold temperature extremes.

2. Thermal cycling conditions parts prior to exposure to extreme temperature environments. It is ideal for engineers and research and design experts to see how temperature extremes will affect their parts. This is very typical for aerospace components which cycle between very wide temperature extremes from land, to Earth’s atmosphere and beyond.

3. Thermal cycling supports lab and research & design work for testing in extremely cold environments. This allows engineers to better understand how cold temperatures will affect the materials they elect to use in specific applications. Through our experiences with thermal cycling, we have developed a wide range of techniques to meet our customer’s thermal cycling requirements. We have utilized temperature controlled atmospheric chambers as well as immersion treatments in the past. Cryogenic thermal cycling has become a mainstay of our business and we expect to expand these capabilities through the knowledge that we continue to acquire about thermal cycling.

For more information about thermal cycling, please visit our thermal cycling web page or call Robin Rhodes or Ryan Taylor at (508) 459-7447.

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