Material Choices For Vacuum Chamber Construction

Category: Educational Resource CenterMaterials

Metals the most prevalent choice of vacuum chamber materials, with stainless steel (SS) far ahead of other metals such as mild steel. For example, deciding to use SS doesn’t mean any and all SS alloys. Free-machining alloys such as 303 SS contain sulfur (S), but the vapor pressure of the sulfur (S) is too high for high vacuum systems. 304 SS, though, is the most common choice. This helps narrow things down, but for ultrahigh vacuum (UHV)  the low-carbon 304L alloy is recommended.

Historically, the following three factors have made stainless steel the preferred material for the manufacture of vacuum chambers.

  • Ease of achieving vacuum leak-tight welds.
  • Ease of cleaning and bake out.
  • Availability of standard sealing systems.

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