Alloy 36

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Invar 36 is an austenitic nickel-iron alloy that exhibits low thermal expansion. It is a good choice for applications where minimal thermal expansion is required, such as optical and laser components, measuring devices, and precision mechanical systems.

This alloy is characterized by a near-zero coefficient of linear thermal expansion, and exhibits very little expansion at temperatures above the Curie point. Alloy 36 is commonly used in applications requiring dimensional stability, minimum thermal expansion, and high strength.

Typical applications include clock balance wheels, laser components, and composite molds for the aerospace industry. Some Invar products also exhibit a useful degree of corrosion resistance.

The alloy is also used in electrical circuit breakers, thermostat rods, and bimetal thermostats. Invar’s reputation for low thermal expansion is a result of its relatively low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Although the lowest thermal expansion of any metal, Invar does require special considerations for machining. For example, it must be cleaned prior to heat treatment. Also, it is recommended to use high speed tools instead of carbide tools.

It is also important to select a suitable annealing temperature. The annealing temperature should be at least 850-900degF, depending on the dimensions of the component. If a sand blasting application is not available, the material should be treated in a controlled atmospheric heat treatment oven.

Depending on the machining requirements, alloy 36 can be machined using conventional methods. However, it requires higher feeds than other metals. Machines that are used to cut this alloy should have front clearance of 7deg. During machining, the tool should be fitted with a soluble oil cutting compound.

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