The electrodes used for resistance welding, made of copper alloys are a good example. They have to hold a good balance between mechanical strength and conductivity and their performance is improved, sometimes dramatically, by cryogenic treatment. It also provides excellent results in welding contact tips and in tungsten electrodes.
A quite popular application, especially in North America, is the treatment of brake discs (usually made of grey cast iron). The cryogenically treated discs wear out considerably slower (they last more than double), do not warp and show a better heat dissipation during braking. Not surprisingly, the use of treated discs has become common in vehicle fleets (taxis, ambulances, police, etc.) sine, apart from improving their performance and durability, the associated maintenance costs are significantly reduced.
Motorsports is a field with varied applications. Apart from the aforementioned brake discs, all kind of engine and transmission components like bocks, cylinder heads, crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons, springs, gears, gearboxes, clutches, etc. are cryogenically treated. The performance of these elements (and the engine as a whole) is improved due to lower friction and better heat dissipation. Moreover, the life and the reliability of the treated components are very significantly increased, which leads to a drastic reduction of the number of incidents or breakdowns during the race (“to finish first you must first finish”).
A common consequence of the use of cryogenic treatments is the increase in fatigue life. Besides many positive experiences, numerous studies confirm the ability of this technology to significantly increase this characteristic in many materials: spring steels, bearing steels, cemented steels, stainless steels, aluminium alloys, etc. Definitely, this is an important field of application with great development potential.
Other applications may seem somehow “singular” from an industrial point of view, but their demand is growing very fast. For example, cryogenic treatments have become popular in the field of high-end audio gear where the treatment of cables, connectors, Hi-Fi tubes, etc. noticeably improves the sound quality. It is also applied to musical instruments (mainly those made of brass), strings (for piano, guitar…) and, more recently, they have started to be used in wooden electric guitars with remarkable results too. Apparently, the sonority of the instruments is positively affected by the exposition to cryogenic temperatures. Although the reasons for all these changes are not entirely clear, it seems that improvements in conductivity and, especially, the relief of residual stresses are behind the success of cryogenic treatments in this field.
Cryogenic treatments have also gained relevance in firearms, especially for the barrels. The friction is decreased, enabling greater velocity of the projectile, lower heat generation and easier cleaning. Further, the increase of the dimensional stability leads to more accurate shots. These treatments are also used in other sport equipment like, for example, golf clubs, ice skates or tennis rackets.
In short, this is a simple and economic process that, as has been stated, has a huge variety of applications. Maybe you have any in mind and, if this is the case, do not stay with the doubt and feel free to contact us. The multistage cryogenic treatment may be the solution that you have long searched for.