Low melting alloys are commonly used throughout the manufacturing process to help create products or placed inside of products for a specific function. These alloys melt and flow at very low temperatures depending on the composition of the base metals and additive metals. A common low melting base metal may consist of bismuth at higher percentages as it will be combined with lower percentages of Indium.
Indium is extracted from tin or zinc during refining processes. It melts at temperature ranges between 45 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal also stays malleable at freezing temperatures of -300 degrees Fahrenheit. Indium also has thermal and electrical properties. When Indium is combined with other metals to create low melting alloys, they are used in the following applications.
Anchoring and Mounting
Many parts going through the manufacturing process must be held so that they may undergo additional machining work. How they are anchored plays an important factor, as the anchor or mount cannot be attached with screws, bolts, or clamps. This factor is extremely important for parts made out of glass that are used for lenses in eyeglasses, cameras, videos, or sensors. Low melting alloys containing Indium become hardened along the part. After the part is machined, polished, or finished, the low melting alloy may become immersed in warm water as the Indium-containing alloy melts away. The low melting alloy is recaptured for it to be used again.
Low melting alloys with Indium are used throughout the semiconductor industry to join parts together. The lower temperatures required to melt the solder ensures that parts along the printed circuit boards will not experience damage. In addition, this type of solder may replace lead-based solders for many applications where toxicity is an important issue. Solder with low-based alloys handles the thermal expansion made between different materials without cracking or splitting.
Some products and equipment generate a lot of internal heat, such as products containing electrical equipment. This heat needs to be dissipated from electronics and processes to prevent excessive wear and tear, damage, and aging. Low melting alloys offers thermal management allowing the heat to pass into it and through to move away from internal electronics. So the Indium-containing alloys helps to keep products cool when functioning.
Bonding two dissimilar materials can be difficult as the bonding material must be compatible to the properties of both surfaces. Trying to bond non-metals such as ceramic or glass may also be difficult when other bonding applications may harm or damage the materials. The low melting alloys are used as bonding materials such as glazed ceramics, glass, or quartz. The Indium-containing low melting alloy also can be used for cold-welding surfaces.
Fail Safe Mechanism
Low melting alloys are found in many safety devices that may experience a dangerous situation with high temperatures. The Indium-containing allow is formed into a thermal fuse. When a higher temperature runs across the fuse, the low melting alloy melts away and breaks the circuit. This fail-safe mechanism may then shut down equipment or even sound an alarm so that immediate actions can be taken.
Low Melting Alloys
There are many uses for low melting alloys that have Indium. Bonding, soldering, anchoring, and thermal management are just a few applications that benefit from this alloy. If you require low melting alloys and are considering ones containing Indium, contact Belmont Metals.