Why Consider Ceramic Feedthroughs

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Paul Charpenter
Categories : Design

Electrical connectors and feedthroughs require well engineered materials. In its simplest form, epoxy or glue can be used to seal a joint, but or a more robust solution might use an elastomer Oo-ring as a mechanical seal. But in the most demanding applications and to prevent leakage over, fluctuating changes of temperature, humidity and pressure, a ceramic seal can be most effective.

Ceramic feedthroughs are ceramic to metal fabrications that are utilized to transmit electrical signals, high currents/gases/fluids or high voltages from between external sources to and a hermetically-sealed chamber.

These assemblies are made to provide high mechanical strength and electrical insulation. They are hermetically-sealed and maintain very high levels of vacuum. Joint integrity is maintained even at extreme temperatures and in harsh environments.

Classification

  • Low voltage signal feedthroughs are typically rated 2V.
  • High voltage feedthroughs are from 20 to 100kV
  • RF feedthroughs
  • Water-cooled feedthroughs

ceramic assemblies 
The low and high voltage feedthroughs can be manufactured as a single-pin, multi-pin or thermocouple.

RF or water-cooled feedthroughs operate efficiently in several RF applications that includes sputtering, CO2 lasers and plasma generation.

Ceramic vs Glass

Using ceramic can provide better performance than glass in some applications. Ceramic feedthroughs offer superior resistance to thermal and mechanical shock, better protection against leaks and high resistance to corrosion.  Glass feedthroughs, on the other hand, are good for fluctuating pressure, temperature changes and humidity variations.

Electrical seal systems requiring the highest reliability and performance employ ceramics for excellent resistance to mechanical or thermal shock. They also show exceptional corrosion prevention.

The costs of producing ceramic seals are higher than a typical glass-to-metal system and involves significant tooling investment, but the technical advantages can make ceramic sealed feedthroughs the right choice for critical applications.

Feedthrough Applications

Typical uses of ceramic feedthroughs:

  • Mass spectrometry
  • Gas detection
  • High-vacuum connectors
  • Transmission and scanning electron microscopes
  • Particle accelerators
  • Nuclear detectors
  • Medical industry applications
    • X-ray equipment
    • Scanners
    • Imaging equipment
  • Aerospace industry application
    • Satellite propulsions
    • Sensors
    • Engines
  • Power tubes
  • Optoelectronics
  • Gas lasers
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Deep sea penetrators and repeater

ceramic feedthrough

AMETEK-ECP Ceramic Feedthrough Capabilities

Breakthroughs in the ceramic industry have made this material work as an alternative to glass in many applications.  AMETEK-ECP has incorporated this material into package designs like feedthroughs, fiber optic packages and machined housings. The products offered have been essential to many companies and government applications specially in the defense sector.


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