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Publication numberUS3147085 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 1, 1964
Filing dateSep 14, 1961
Priority dateSep 14, 1961
Publication numberUS 3147085 A, US 3147085A, US-A-3147085, US3147085 A, US3147085A
InventorsGatti Arno
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for growing whiskers
US 3147085 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 1, 1964 A. GATTI APPARATUS FOR GROWING WHISKERS Filed Sept. 14, 1961 Fig.

Fig. 3-

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United States Patent Ofilice 3,147,085 Patented Sept. 1, 1964 3,147,085 APPARATUS FOR GROWING WEHKERS Arno Gatti, Schenectady, N .Y., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Sept. 14, 1961, Ser. No. 138,101 4 Claims. (Cl. 23-284) This invention relates to apparatus for continuously growing metal or metal oxide single crystals or whiskers.

Until the advent of the present invention, the production of metal or metal oxide whiskers, that is, single crystals of these materials grown from the vapor phase, has been limited to batch-type operations in which extremely limited quantities of whiskers were produced during any given operation. The necessity for operating in this fashion resulted in prohibitively high manufacturing costs, thereby rendering use of the whiskers economically impossible.

It is a principal object of this invention to provide an apparatus for continuously producing single crystal whiskers from the vapor phase.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved apparatus for producing metal and/ or metal oxide whiskers under conditions more economical than those utilized heretofore.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be in part obvious and in part explained by reference to the accompanying specification and drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a somewhat schematic section through an apparatus constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view, part in section and part in full, taken along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragment of the whisker growth substrate member showing the manner in which whisker growth occurs.

Broadly, the apparatus of the present invention utilizes enclosure means which define a closed whisker growth chamber which has suitable openings for control of the atmosphere present in the chamber. Mounted within the enclosure means, or in other words, within the whisker growth chamber, are heating means capable of vaporizing the material to be used for whisker growth. Also contained within the whisker growth chamber is at least one growth substrate body which is suitably mounted for continuous movement through the hot, vaporizing zone created by the heating apparatus. The final elements of the apparatus are a source of whisker material and a carrier member which functions to transport the material into the heating apparatus for vaporization and subsequent deposition upon the growth substrate means.

The construction of the apparatus can best be seen by referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings wherein the numeral indicates an enclosure means having an inlet opening 11 and an outlet opening 12. The enclosed chamber defined by member 10 can be referred to as the whisker growth chamber 15 since the vaporization and growth of whiskers occurs entirely within this chamber.

Mounted within chamber 15 are heating means, here shown as an induction furnace 16, which is secured to the side walls of enclosure 10 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings. This furnace has a generally rectangular-shaped opening 17 and can be connected to a source of power by means of the electrical wires 18. Furnace 16 defines a heated zone 20 in which vaporization of source material is effected.

Source material 25, that is, the material to be grown into whiskers, is transmitted to the heated zone 20 from a suitable source such as the electrically heated crucible 26 by means of a carrier member 27 which is mounted within the growth chamber for movement from the crucible 26 through the heated zone 20. Carrier member 27 is shown in the drawings as being a generally cylindricallyshaped member open at both ends and held for rotation by a pair of idler rolls 28. The carrier is driven by a drive sprocket 29 which engages suitably formed apertures 30 in the body of carrier 27. Thus, by driving the sprocket 29 in a clockwise position, as viewed in FIG. 1, the carrier 27 will similarly rotate in a clockwise direction so that it contacts the material 25 contained in crucible 26 prior to the time it enters the heated zone 20 of furnace 16.

Since the vaporized material requires a substrate to deposit upon and grow into whisker form, a pair of growth substrate means 31 and 32 have been provided. These elements are also of generally cylindrical shape and extend through the rectangular aperture 17 and heated zone 20 of furnace 16 in the manner indicated. Both are supported by idler rolls 33 and are driven by drive sprockets 34 similar to drive sprocket 29 used in connection with carrier member 27. These sprockets 34 engage suitable apertures 37 formed in the growth substrate cylinders 31 and 32.

The final elements necessary to make the process a continuous one are scraper means which are shown in the drawings as blades 46. There are two such blades for each of the growth substrate bodies, since the whiskers grow from both of the surfaces thereof. The manner in which whisker growth occurs can best be seen in FIG. 3 of the drawings where whiskers 41 are shown growing from the opposed surfaces of one of the cylindrical substrate bodies. Collecting trays 45 have been provided heneath each of the scraper blades 40 to collect the whiskers as they are removed from the surfaces of the growth substrate cylinders.

It will be readily appreciated that the present apparatus can be used to produce whiskers of many different types of material. The composition of the whiskers grown will be dependent only upon such factors as the source material, the atmosphere used, the operating temperature, etc., according to practices followed in the known batch processes. For example, alumina whiskers can be produced by placing a quantity of aluminum metal in the crucible 26 where it is maintained in molten condition. The heated zone 20 of furnace 16 would then be placed at a temperature of from about 1300 C. to 1600 C., a temperature of 1500 C. being highly desirable, and the growth chamber 15 continuously supplied with hydrogen having a dew point on the order of 50 F. Since the aluminum requires oxygen to form alumina whiskers, the dew point of the atmosphere is maintained at a level insuring some water vapor. The flow rate of the hydrogen would normally be on the order of 3 c.f.h., although this rate is not particularly critical. Once these conditions have been fulfilled, carrier 27 is rotated, as are substrate cylinders 31 and 32, so that the molten aluminum picked up by carrier 27 can be vaporized in zone 20 and deposited, in whisker form, on the surfaces of cylinders 31 and 32. The deposition will actually occur within the hot zone so that by the time the whiskers have reached scrapers to, they will be in condition for removal. The whiskers and any other deposits which may have occurred on cylinders 31 and 32 will be totally removed by scrapers 4t? and deposited in the collecting trays 45.

Whiskers of other compositions can be grown in the same manner merely by controlling the temperatures and atmospheres. Metal whiskers, for instance, can be produced by using a dry atmosphere or a vacuum so that oxidation of the metal does not occur during vaporization and growth.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as those skilled in the art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the invention and the appended claims.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. An apparatus for continuously producing metal or metal oxide whiskers comprising, enclosure means defining a whisker growth chamber and including openings providing for the passage of a selected controlled atmosphere into said growth chamber, heating means positioned within said whisker growth chamber defining a vaporizing zone in which the selected whisker material is vaporized, means including a'carrier member mounted within said growth chamber for movement through the vaporizing zone to introduce a supply of whisker material thereinto, growth substrate means mounted within said chamber for continuous movement through the vaporizing zone to provide a base from which crystals may grow, and scraper means mounted in operative relationship with respect to the surfaces of said growth substrate means to effect removal of whiskers therefrom.

2. An apparatus for continuously producing metal or metal oxide whiskers comprising, enclosure means defining a whisker growth chamber and including openings providing for the passage of a selected controlled atmosphere into said growth chamber, heating means positioned within said whisker growth chamber defining a vaporizing zone in which the selected whisker material is vaporized, means including a carrier member mounted within said growth chamber for movement through the vaporizing zone to introduce a supply of whisker material thereinto, generally cylindrical growth substrate means mounted Within said chamber for continuous movement through the vaporizing zone to provide a base from which crystals may grow, and scraper means mounted in operative relationship with respect to the surfaces of said generally cylindrical growth substrate means to eifect removal of whiskers therefrom.

3. An apparatus for continuously producing metal or metal oxide whiskers comprising, enclosure means defining a whisker growth chamber and including openings providing for the passage of a selected controlled atmosphere into said growth chamber, electrical resistance heating means positioned within said whisker growth chamber and defining a vaporizing zone in which whisker material is vaporized, means including a continuous carrier mounted to carry a supply of whisker material from a source thereof through the heated vaporizing zone, growth substrate means mounted within said chamber for continuous movement through the vaporizing zone to provide a base from which whiskers may grow, and scraper means mounted in operative relationship with respect to the surfaces of said growth substrate means to effect removal of whiskers therefrom.

4. An apparatus for continuously producing metal or metal oxide whiskers comprising, enclosure means defining a whisker growth chamber and including openings providing for the passage of a selected controlled atmosphere into said growth chamber, heating means secured to said enclosure means within said whisker growth chamber defining a vaporizing zone in which Whisker material is vaporized, a source of whisker material contained within said growth chamber, a generally cylindrical carrier rotatably mounted in contact with the supply of whisker material, generally cylindrical growth substrate means rotatably mounted within said chamber for continuous movement through the vaporizing zone to provide a base from which whiskers may grow, and scraper means mounted in operative relationship with respect to the surfaces of said cylindrical substrates to effect removal of whiskers therefrom.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,538,540 Thurman Jan. 16, 1951 2,608,472 Flosdorf et al Aug. 26, 1952 2,683,676 Little et al July 13, 1954 2,836,524 Brenner et al. May 27, 1958 2,904,412 McBride et al Sept. 15, 1959

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2538540 *Jun 22, 1944Jan 16, 1951Kraft Foods CoDistillation apparatus
US2608472 *Jan 29, 1948Aug 26, 1952Stokes Machine CoSublimation apparatus
US2683676 *Jan 13, 1950Jul 13, 1954Bell Telephone Labor IncProduction of germanium rods having longitudinal crystal boundaries
US2836524 *Dec 21, 1955May 27, 1958Gen ElectricMethod and apparatus for the production of single crystals
US2904412 *Dec 28, 1953Sep 15, 1959Phillips Petroleum CoCrystal separation and purification
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3240560 *Oct 25, 1962Mar 15, 1966Corning Glass WorksMethod of making gamma-alumina fibers
US3314759 *Sep 18, 1964Apr 18, 1967Agency Ind Science TechnMagnesia fiber product and a method for manufacturing the same
US3326636 *Feb 15, 1965Jun 20, 1967United States Steel CorpMethod of making magnesium oxide fibers
US3341285 *Jul 16, 1964Sep 12, 1967Horizons IncProcess for preparing alumina wool
US3371993 *Dec 21, 1964Mar 5, 1968Corning Glass WorksMethod of making magnesium oxide fibers
US3421851 *Mar 26, 1965Jan 14, 1969Gen Technologies CorpMethod of growing alpha-alumina single crystal ribbons
US3476641 *Jun 1, 1965Nov 4, 1969Gen Technologies CorpHigh-strength single crystal whisker paper composites and laminates
US3647524 *Jul 18, 1969Mar 7, 1972Dow Chemical CoVapor phase metal plating process
US3658469 *Oct 16, 1969Apr 25, 1972Robert H KelseyContinuous production of alumina whiskers
US3678888 *Feb 25, 1970Jul 25, 1972British Iron Steel ResearchMaterial depositing apparatus
US3775061 *Aug 19, 1965Nov 27, 1973J GlassApparatus for making fibers
US3808087 *Aug 21, 1970Apr 30, 1974Gen Technologies CorpSurface-treated lamination structures
US3870577 *Oct 9, 1970Mar 11, 1975Us NavyProcess for making whisker-like crystals of ammonium perchlorate
US3969545 *Nov 19, 1974Jul 13, 1976Texas Instruments IncorporatedLight polarizing material method and apparatus
US4443412 *Apr 1, 1982Apr 17, 1984Santrade, Ltd.Conveyor belts, rolls, multilayer films
US6079276 *Jun 30, 1999Jun 27, 2000Rosemount Inc.Sintered pressure sensor for a pressure transmitter
US6082199 *Mar 26, 1999Jul 4, 2000Rosemount Inc.Pressure sensor cavity etched with hot POCL3 gas
US6089097 *Mar 3, 1997Jul 18, 2000Rosemount Inc.Elongated pressure sensor for a pressure transmitter
US6484585Jun 26, 2000Nov 26, 2002Rosemount Inc.Pressure sensor for a pressure transmitter
US6505516Jan 6, 2000Jan 14, 2003Rosemount Inc.Capacitive pressure sensing with moving dielectric
US6508129Jan 6, 2000Jan 21, 2003Rosemount Inc.Pressure sensor capsule with improved isolation
US6516671Jan 5, 2001Feb 11, 2003Rosemount Inc.Grain growth of electrical interconnection for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
US6520020Jan 6, 2000Feb 18, 2003Rosemount Inc.Method and apparatus for a direct bonded isolated pressure sensor
US6561038Oct 15, 2001May 13, 2003Rosemount Inc.Sensor with fluid isolation barrier
US6848316May 8, 2002Feb 1, 2005Rosemount Inc.Pressure sensor assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification117/200, 23/294.00R, 427/251, 118/726, 264/DIG.190, 422/254
International ClassificationC30B29/62
Cooperative ClassificationC30B29/62, Y10S264/19
European ClassificationC30B29/62