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Induction furnace

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An induction furnace is an electrical furnace in which the heat is applied by induction heating of a conductive medium (usually a metal) in a crucible around which water-cooled magnetic coils are wound. The advantage of the induction furnace is a clean, energy-efficient and well-controllable melting process compared to most other means of metal melting. Most modern foundries use this type of furnace and now also more iron foundries are replacing cupolas with induction furnaces to melt cast iron, as the former emit lots of dust and other pollutants. Induction furnace capacities range from less than one kilogram to one hundred tonnes capacity, and are used to melt iron and steel, copper, aluminium, and precious metals. The one major drawback to induction furnace usage in a foundry is the lack of refining capacity; charge materials must be clean of oxidation products and of a known composition, and some alloying elements may be lost due to oxidation (and must be re-added to the melt).


Operating frequencies range from mains frequency (50 or 60 Hz) to 10 kHz, usually depending on the material being melted, the capacity of the furnace and the melting speed required - a higher frequency furnace is usually faster to melt a charge. Lower frequencies generate more turbulence in the metal, reducing the power that can be applied to the melt.

A preheated 1-tonne furnace melting iron can melt cold charge to tapping readiness within an hour.

An operating induction furnace usually emits a hum or whine (due to magnetostriction), the pitch of which can be used by operators to identify whether the furnace is operating correctly, or at what power level.

See also

  • Electric arc furnace - for another type of electric furnace, used in larger foundries and mini-mill steelmaking operations


  • Foseco Ferrous Foundryman's Handbook, Elsevier, 2000
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Induction_furnace". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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