The glass manufacturing process requires very high temperatures and tools made out of extremely high-quality materials – which materials are especially well-suited for the process?
Pure platinum, or reinforced versions of it, are used to manufacture highly pure types of optical glass. With these materials, it is important that the alloys used do not discolor the glass. Dispersion hardening with ZrO2 is one proven method, whereby the alloy is distributed finely throughout the material in the form of very small particles.
Platinum-rhodium alloys are used to manufacture technical glasses and technical glass fibers. Rhodium itself significantly reinforces the material and increases its melting point. The dispersion hardening is used to create materials with excellent creep strength.
Which new products and processes can we expect to see from Heraeus in the next 3 years?
One of our core competencies it to offer optimized materials for special applications. Since the market demand for alloys with high melting points and low evaporation loss is good, we have developed the PtRh20 DPH-L alloy. We plan to introduce it commercially for both glass components and glass fiber bushing plates. If the market moves back to low-rhodium alloys due to the current increase in rhodium prices, Heraeus can react to this change flexibly. We can compensate for the expected higher precious metal evaporation rates with suitable evaporation protection coatings. The market will determine which new products Heraeus will put out over the next few years.
What makes platinum materials from Heraeus stand out?
Dispersion strengthened materials, also called ODS materials, can be manufactured either through powder metallurgy or casting metallurgy. Powder metallurgy materials are very strong, but are difficult to weld and brittle. If materials are produced through casting process, on the other hand, they stand out for excellent ability to weld and good ductility. Only Heraeus manufactures ODS materials using casting metallurgy.