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Inside Iowa State
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January 31, 2003

Arne Swanson

Not your average oven

The Ames Laboratory's Materials Preparation Center recently purchased a laboratory scale plasma furnace, able to generate temperatures in excess of 10,000 degrees Celsius -- hot enough to melt even the toughest alloy. The plasma is created by an electric arc passing through a mixture of helium and argon. The added energy results in the extremely high temperatures. Research technician Arne Swanson (above) is shown in front of the plasma furnace, looking at an ingot of titanium. The photo below shows what happens inside the furnace. The titanium melts as the plasma plume passes across the ingot. The melted metal drips into a water-cooled copper mold. Photos by Denny and Hal Sailsbury, Ames Laboratory.

... Becoming the Best
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